Archive for February, 2014

Report Puts Medical Errors as Third Leading Cause of Death

By admin

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

I came upon a report that I thought might be interesting, and probably important.  Like anything, you should look into it yourself with the idea that there is information here that might help protect you from unintentionally or unknowingly falling victim to conduct that should be avoidable.

In any event, I suggest that you read this and just be aware that while trusting medical care providers is an important thing, asking questions and making sure you understand what is being done and why, can be equally important.

If an airliner crashed every day of the year because of pilot error, would you travel by air? Probably not. If your doctor wanted to admit you to a hospital for a needed medical procedure, would you refuse? Probably not. But consider this: A recently published study estimates that 210,000 hospital patients die each year from preventable medical errors, roughly equivalent to 365 jumbo jet disasters. That puts medical errors as the third leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease and cancer. Refusing care is not an option for most, but you should know how patient safety can help you survive a hospital stay.

Start with awareness and a willingness to SPEAK UP:

  • Speak up, ask questions and ask again if you don’t understand. Know what to expect before and after a procedure, and if something changes, ask why.
  • Pay attention and get the right treatments and medications from the right people; don’t assume anything.
  • Educate yourself about your medical history: diagnosis, medical tests and treatment plan.
  • Ask an assertive, informed family member to be there as your advocate and ask tough questions if you can’t.
  • Know what medications you take and why. Bring a list that includes supplements and allergies.
  • Use a hospital that has undergone rigorous on-site evaluation. Visit Medicare’s Hospital Compare, The Joint Commission’s Quality Check and Leapfrog’s Hospital Safety Score.
  • Participate aggressively in your treatment. Ask doctors and nurses to wash their hands before touching you; check ID bracelets before treatments and medication; and label a procedure site with permanent marker.

For more details, download a copy of the Speak Up brochure. Or visit the Speak Up Web page for more information, brochures, posters and videos.

Medical Mistakes: Service Grades Hospitals on A to F on Safety

By admin

Friday, February 7th, 2014

The 1999 study To Err Is Human first projected that as many as 98,000 people die each year from medical mistakes. In 2010, the Office of The Inspector General estimated 180,000 deaths. A new study from the Journal of Patient Safety puts the number between 210,000 and 440,000. Some estimates put the national incidence of wrong site surgeries, which includes wrong patient, wrong procedure, wrong site and wrong side surgeries, as high as 40 per week.

Before you check into a hospital check that hospital’s safety score.  This national service, provided by Leapfrog Group, grades hospitals from A to F based on 28 measures of publicly available hospital safety data.  Click here for the hospital rating site.