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Hospital Harm Factor

01/10/2011

According to the New York Times, and a recent study conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services, 1 in 7 Medicare recipients is harmed rather than helped by hospital medical care. Hospital infections are a major contributor to the problem, but poorly administered medication and faulty bedside care are actually more to blame. 180,000 patient deaths a year are due to such “adverse events.” in October, 2008, alone, 134,000 hospitalized Medicare patients experienced at least one such harmful episode, of which 44% were “clearly or likely preventable.” the research, carried out by the department’s Office of Inspector General is the latest in an ongoing progress check on hospital safety. Researcher Ruth Ann Dorrill says it’s also the most statistically valid analysis tondate of how frequently patients are harmed during their hospital stays.

“Hospitals and doctors and nurses are focused on preventing harm, but as this report suggests, we do have a ways to go before we are where we want our performance to be.” (American Hospital Association)

Forgive me, but 180,000 deaths in a year is more than a “performance” issue. I know there is a severe under-staffing issue in today’s medical field. But an average of 500 deaths per day is a little crazy. There is too low an accountability factor in the field and with their intense malignancy towards alternative methods and herbal approaches leaves me irritated.

My great=aunt at a healthy 76 experienced some chest pain after working all day in her garden. The hospital gave her Demerol. Google it – over 65, there are risks and there are other medications that will be more useful. Actually, over age 65 Demerol can be deadly. We learned that the hard, sad way. She passed away and to date, there is no record of the hospital or the negligence of the staff being at fault. I have a serious bone to pick about that….

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