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.
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.