AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A new state report shows some improvement when it comes to serious errors, injuries and accidents in Maine hospitals and other health care facilities.

The Department of Health and Human Services has required hospitals, surgery centers, kidney centers and intermediate care facilities to report "sentinel events" since 2004. Facilities have 24 hours to call a state hotline after an incident and 45 days to share a detailed analysis of how it happened, why it happened and what will be done to prevent more incidents.

According to the latest report, there were 156,698 surgeries performed at Maine hospitals in 2012. In two cases, patients had the wrong body part operated on, and 14 had something left behind in their bodies — such as sponges or medical instruments — during surgery. Thirty-six patients died in a hospital setting of something they weren't expected to die from.

The statistic regarding incorrect body parts was unchanged from 2011, the Sun-Journal reports ( The number of items left behind during surgery dropped by two, while the number of unanticipated deaths decreased by 25.

"It used to be called 'never-events' ... because people felt like they should never happen," said Jill Rosenthal, senior program director for the National Academy for State Health Policy.

Sandra Parker, vice president of the Maine Hospital Association, said her group plans an educational event for members about sentinel events this fall.


Information from: Sun-Journal,