The Institute for Health Care Improvement reports that deaths from medical errors are estimated at between 98,000 and 195,000 ever year.
According to Dr. Georges Benjamin, many of these errors result from a failure to consistently adopt procedures in hospitals that save lives, such as raising the beds for patients on ventilators to reduce the potential of pneumonia, or to concentrate on sterile techniques that are spread through a person’s breath. Also, managing blood-sugar levels during surgery and giving an appropriate regimen of antibiotics helps reduce risks.
Consumers Union states that hospital acquired infection alone add 5 billion dollars to the nations health care tab. This kind of cost should be getting the attention of our legislators. Instead of worrying about lawsuit caps and restricting patient’s rights, lawmakers should focus on rewarding preventative medicine.
Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia (VAP) accounts for over 26,000 deaths per year. However, fourteen hospitals that participated in a safety campaign to assess good medicine called “100,000 Lives Campaign”, have reported no VAP deaths for the past year.
Practicing good medicine can help reduce our insurance costs. Common sense would tell us that the threat of being held accountable by a jury should serve as encouragement for this goal. Medical errors should not be an acceptable risk for patients. That’s where the flashlight of attention should be placed.