Skip to comments.Report Says 195,000 Deaths Due to Hospital Error
Posted on 07/27/2004 4:28:54 PM PDT by Indy Pendance
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - As many as 195,000 people a year could be dying in U.S. hospitals because of easily prevented errors, a company said on Tuesday in an estimate that doubles previous figures.
Lakewood, Colorado-based HealthGrades Inc. said its data covers all 50 states and is more up-to-date than a 1999 study from the Institute of Medicine that said 98,000 people a year die from medical errors.
"The HealthGrades study shows that the IOM report may have underestimated the number of deaths due to medical errors, and, moreover, that there is little evidence that patient safety has improved in the last five years," said Dr. Samantha Collier, vice president of medical affairs at the company.
The company, which rates hospitals based on a variety of criteria and provides information to insurers and health plans, said its researchers looked at three years of Medicare data in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
"This Medicare population represented approximately 45 percent of all hospital admissions (excluding obstetric patients) in the U.S. from 2000 to 2002," the company said in a statement.
HealthGrades included as mistakes failure to rescue dying patients and the death of low-risk patients from infections -- neither of which the Institute of Medicine report included.
It said it found about 1.14 million "patient-safety incidents" occurred among the 37 million hospitalizations.
"Of the total 323,993 deaths among Medicare patients in those years who developed one or more patient-safety incidents, 263,864, or 81 percent, of these deaths were directly attributable to the incidents," it added.
"One in every four Medicare patients who were hospitalized from 2000 to 2002 and experienced a patient-safety incident died."
The U.S. government said it is trying to spearhead a move to get hospitals and clinics to use electronic databases and prescribing methods. The Institute of Medicine report said many deaths were due to medication prescribing errors or to errors in delivering medications.
"If the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's annual list of leading causes of death included medical errors, it would show up as number six, ahead of diabetes, pneumonia, Alzheimer's disease and renal disease," Collier said.
Well? Are they dying or not? Typical Reuters hype and hysteria. And the march towards socialized medicine goose-steps onward.
Has John Edwards repealed his decision to be Kerry's running mate yet?
Then again, there's always room for a Hillary slam.
I'd be dead before I got out of bed.
If I could get out of bed.
At any rate, the guy who occupied the Oval Office for eight years tried to blame all sorts of deaths on mere mistakes...saying government ought to be more involved.
Quietly, about 4 or 5 months later, that study/stats were announced to be FLAWED. And it was said REAL quietly. I never heard the perjurer bring up those stats again.
A physician I know was telling me about his friend's invention that should save about 20,000 lives per year. It's a combination skin moisterizer and hand sanitizer liquid. It seems that lots of medical personnel don't wash their hands between patients, because if they did their hands would get all chapped from being washed so often. So they bring germs from one patient to another in hospital settings
I thought of that. My kid is in the medical field and has to wash hand all the time. We can't find a solution to the chapped hands issue. It's a huge problem. Gloves?
Gloves don't work without handwashing. I'm a hospital nurse, and we wash hands or use sanitizer before touching a patient and after we finish. It's essential.
On the other hand, when was the last time your doctor washed his hands before touching you?
Think about it.
I rarely go to the doctor, but you are right, he never washes his hands in front of me. That's interesting about gloves. Why won't they work?
what do you call a doctor who finished LAST in his class???
Not all that surprising. Recently I had to get some stitches (chain link fence 1, toe 0) and told the nurse that I was allergic to neosporin. After the physician's assistant stitched me up he opened up a tube and was about to put some neosporin on the wound before I asked him what was in the tube and stopped him. The ink wasn't even dry on the form which said I was allergic to it.
I have an engineering degree. I was a non-traditional student. So many younger students were so worried about their GPA. I told them, when was the last time you asked you doctor what his GPA was in med school. Puts it all into perspective, doesn't it?
Wow, good you were viligant.
195,000 new democrat voters.
There is no way to prevent it. The hands need to be scrubbed. Period.
Wow, using admittedly simplistic math, that makes going to the hospital at least four times more deadly than driving.
I told her she could no longer come into my wife's room. I then had it put on her chart that she could receive no meds without my approval. I told the doctor about it and he just shook his head as if exasperated by it all.
Puts it all into perspective, doesn't it?
and there it is...
Say you then go into the next room with staph on your hands, and then you put on gloves with your dirty hands. The staph will be on the outside of the gloves from when you pulled them out of the box and put them on. If the second patient has a surgical wound, and you change a dressing with the now-contaminated gloves, what have you done? You've transferred the staph from the patient in 129 to the patient in 131.
Does that explain it? Plus, whatever the nurse touches in the hall--say she shakes hands with a visitor who spent the drive to the hospital picking his nose in the car (MRSA) or didn't wash hands after using the bathroom, etc. etc.
Hospital surfaces are not sterile. If a nurse drops her pen and picks it up off the floor, then doesn't wash them before putting your eye drops in after your eye surgery....
You're right --- and people should look at what is going on in health care --- good nurses and doctors get fed up and leave the field, in some areas many foreign doctors and nurses are being brought in --- not from the same foreign country many times, and unable to communicate with each other. Hospitals try to save money by hiring aides with no education but you can't tell who is an aide and who is a nurse by the way they're dressed. There can be serious understaffing also and a good nurse can make a bad mistake if overworked and exhuasted.
You really need to be watching out carefully --- don't trust your health and life to just anyone --- some health workers are excellent --- but the organization is only as strong as it's weakest link.
Wow, have we become a paranoid nation.
omg! lol Very true - but ewww
After that rant I think we'll all be a bit more compulsive about hand washing!
Which reminds me, Last week I had this very nice Barnes & Noble cashier wait on me - after ringing up my purchases I asked if I could get things gift wrapped - she said she would be glad to do it, and while we were at the wrap station she confessed that ANY excuse she can get to get away from the "dirty" money she takes - and she added when she goes to the restroom - she washes her hands BEFORE she does her business then of course after too - I was thinking, geez you really need to get a job - she's a cashier in a book store, not a toll taker.
I must admit after my conversation with her I started to think of all the money I've handled never thinking twice.
Not just the sick patients either --- the family with active TB who comes into the hospital to visit their loved one --- or sits for hours in a waiting area ---- spreading their germs to your loved ones, who then come up to visit you. Or a family of someone with a resistant bacteria --- carrying the bacteria in or on themselves, spreading it whereever they go in the hospital or to whoever they come in contact with.
Good for you, unfortunately the next best thing for a patient to be their own best advocate is to have a family member watching out for them, unfortunately not everyone has that luxury.
Good Nurses are underpaid for all the stress and responsibility they have....
Handwashing by the nurses and doctors help --- but no one is really making sure that they do --- but there's also pharmacy, dietary, housekeeping, lab, maintenance, X-ray. And does the mop water get changed between rooms?
This kind of report comes out every year. But it also seems a little overdone. I got the bran cupcake once instead of the tangerine with my meal, but somehow survived.
It's not that, think of the patients with wounds, or who are immune compromised from say, chemo.
Hospitals are notorious for passing infections from one patient to another. Lots of safeguards are in place, but handwashing is critical, and often overlooked. Gloves are meaningless without it, as I illustrated above.
Fitz, the mop water contains a disinfectant. A STRONG one.
The 195,000 hospital death figure will go way down under socialized medicine. Those folks will die at home waiting for a hospital bed instead.
What's worse she's miserable and has been for years.
Why not use ordinary moisturizer from a pump dispenser, after washing with something like Lever 2000 antibacterial bar soap which is very easy on skin. I use Lever 2000 antibacterial bar soap all the time in the winter and I don't chap.
For a nurse, I'm washing my hands or using disinfectant 50+ times per 12 hour shift. Lanolin based hand lotion can degrade latex gloves (I'm allergic, use vinyl) so we use one with no lanolin or petroleum, which is not as effective.
Yes --- if they mix it right or change it when they should --- but how carefully are things like that always checked? I've seen some filthy hospital floors --- blood from a previous patient on the floor. I was shocked at a bathroom near an Emergency Room with used dirty toilet paper thrown on the floor piled up in each stall. It was obviously used by some pretty disgusting people --- more than one --- and hadn't been cleaned for hours.
Agreed. I've never seen that, though, at our small hospitals.
One good thing with some of the costs savings by insurance companies was to send people home sooner --- there are less complications and risk of disease --- people with Open Heart surgery used to stay a couple weeks and now go home in 5 days, OB patients often stay less than 24 hours --- all that means few visitors and less time for hospital acquired infections.
I watched my M-in-L treated for a stroke in a Florida hospital, and compared to hospitals I'd visited around here in Cincinnati , I thought I was in Mexico.( My wife went to Wal Mart and bought them some fans as the AC wasn't working in the facility FOR DAYS) But then I spent the only two hours I've ever spent as a patient, in a major hospital up here for a simple hernia repair ,and wound up with an abcess , worse than the damn hernia , from a staff infection. This story rings true to my ( thank the Lord) limited real experience in hospitals.
Yes --- the patient or the family has to really keep an eye on how things are, how competent the staff seems because some are run well and others are not. Some can look good on the surface but behind the scenes are not.
If your doctor is very good and experienced and your insurance gives you a choice, the doctor usually has a pretty good idea which hospitals are better.
BIG Medicine - BAD!
Some talk show caller made a great point that Kerry went on and on about research for and cures for new diseases - BUT as soon as a drug company spends all the money to develop the successful drug - the liberals start screaming that the company is price gouging the citizens. Wonder how they think research and development is paid for? Twits!