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Medical Errors: A Report Card

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, April 08, 2008 4:47 PM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Medical Malpractice and Negligent Care, FDA and Prescription Drugs, Medical Errors, Heparin



IMAGE SOURCE:  ©iStockPhoto/ doctors circling/ Kovalvs

Medical errors are costing us billions and leading to preventable deaths.

That from the fifth annual Patient Safety in American Hospitals study, by HealthGrades, a leading hospital rating organization.

It finds from 2004 through 2006 there were 238,337 preventable deaths among Medicare patients.   That cost the program and ultimately taxpayers $8.8 billion.

The study detected 1.12 million safety problems during nearly 41 million hospital stays logged by the country’s Medicare recipients. The study analyzed 41 million Medicare patient records. 

Who had more errors?   Poorest performing hospitals as analyzed by HealthGrades, a medical ratings organization. Top performing hospitals were 43 percent less likely to experience medical errors.

The error rate of about 3 percent for Medicare patients translates to more than one million patient incidents occurring during the time period studied. An incident raised your chance of dying to 20 percent.

Medical errors include bed sores, failure to rescue, post-operative respiratory failure which together accounted for 63.4 percent of incidents.

Failure to rescue is little known and always fatal and happens in the majority of hospital cases before Code Blue is called.

Failure to rescue accounted for at least 188,000 lives lost between 2004 and 2006, about 128 deaths for every 1,000 patients.  

The worst failure to rescue mistakes involved respiratory failure, pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis, sepsis and abdominal wounds that split open after surgery.

Case in point, 6-year-old Christian Padilla of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

He went through surgery to correct a heart birth defect three years ago. But after the surgery he began developing symptoms. “Acting fidgety” is what the nurse noted. His parents were told it was normal that he was sleeping so much.  But Christian’s brain was swelling and days later he died.

Christian’s case is an example of how hospitals don’t respond to subtle symptoms of distress, Dr. Samantha Collier, chief medical officer for HealthGrades tells MSNBC.

Since Christiain’s death several changes have occurred at Riley Children's Hospital, where he had his surgery. An acute response team and a program that urges parents to seek information or voice concerns about their children's care has been enacted.  His father often is called upon to speak to nurse’s groups.

Healthgrades says if all hospitals reached the performance level of 249 top-ranked hospitals there could be about 220,106 fewer patient safety incidents and 37,214 patient deaths could be avoided along with a savings of about $2 billion.   #

1 Comment

Anonymous User
Posted by Charles Coram
Saturday, April 12, 2008 2:51 PM EST

First do no Harm
February 4, 2005 I wrote a letter to the editor regarding my concerns about our healthcare community in Ottumwa.
This story was never published.
On April 06, 2005 my wife gave birth to a wonderful baby girl (Olivia). She was delivered at the Ottumwa hospital. Before she was born; one of the hospital nurses asked my wife and I if we wanted our daughter vaccinated with Hepatitis B. My wife and I did not want our baby vaccinated at that time and signed a document to this. I explained to the nurse why we did not want her vaccinated. I told her that there has been documented studies indicating a greater risk for SIDS and AUTISM among children being vaccinated under the age of 2.
Within 2hours after Olivia was born, they vaccinated her with Hepatitis B.
We were told by hospital officials that the form that we signed was difficult for the medical staff to read. The Director of the medical staff told me that there was no risk to our daughter.
On April 20, 2005 Olivia stopped breathing. I rushed her to the hospital were she experienced two more episodes in the ER. She was kept in the hospital for the day and observed without incidence. For the next month our little girl had chronic breathing problems with no explanation from the hospital for her episode. We were constantly worrying that it was going to happen again. The hospitals doctor did ask my wife and I if we knew CPR, just incase it happened again.
The Hospital continues to claim no liability in the incident that almost cost our 2 week old daughter her life. Since she survived and has no recognizable brain damage the hospitals position is “no harm no foul.“ Malpractice laws disagree.
Last year the Department for Health and Human Services requested that all healthcare providing agencies report any hospitalizations, ER visits, and deaths following vaccinations. The report is to be filed with the Centers for Disease Control.
My wife and I gave an ORHC doctor the document to be filled out and submitted.
It was never done.
I contacted the Centers for Disease Control and filed the document.
*The CDC is now investigating the incident as a possible adverse reaction to the vaccine.
There are over 200,000 reports every year of possible vaccine reactions in children.
Over the past month there have been many reports regarding vaccine reactions in the mainstream press.
As of July 25, 2005 the Hospital position: “Based upon the information available to us, including literature which disputes the claim that adverse affects occur with childhood immunizations, and no additional claim of present injury to the child it does not appear that a financial settlement, of any amount, is warranted under the circumstances.”
On April 20, 2005 I rushed my 2 week old daughter to the ER because she was not breathing.
One of the possible adverse effects of Hepatitis B vaccines is AIRWAY OBSTRUCTION.
I encourage both the medical community and there patients to become more educated in the risks associated with the treatments that are provided.

Comments for this article are closed.

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