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Medical Errors, 3rd Leading Cause of Death


Posted on Jan 09, 2015

Every year around 440,000 people in the U.S. die due to medical errors. According to the Patient Safety Journal, this statistics makes medical errors the third leading cause of death in the U.S.

The 2014 Hospital Safety Score assigned each hospital a letter grade based on their ability to prevent errors, injuries and infections.

The Hospital Safety Score is a public service provided by the Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit organization in the U.S. health system.

While the Leapfrog Hospital Survey is a step in the right direction, it relies on incomplete sources of information such as voluntary hospital surveys, Centers for Disease Control numbers, and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service statistics. State and federal governments should mandate hospital disclosure of all types of medical errors.

Some of the reasons for these hospital errors, accidents and injuries, which were publicly reported by the hospital, included surgical wounds splitting open, medication mistakes, patient falls, dangerous blood clots, infections from catheters, foreign objects left inside the body and collapsed lungs.

According to some, being human is at the top of the list of causes. People make errors every day, this happens in health care as well. Only the implication of human error are more serious in this kind of environment as well as the environment is more complex.

The health care system has to recognize that human error is inevitable and create processes that prevent humans from making predictable errors. Although technology can help, it is not a failsafe.

Training is also helpful, but again it is not foolproof, especially in an environment where people is constantly rotating, working part-time, working 12-hour shifts and moving from hospital to hospital.

It is important to recognize predictable errors and then create system to prevent them from occurring.

Health care specialists advise patients to ask questions and speak up with they don’t understand or see something to doesn’t look or feel right.

 

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