Articles Posted in Hearst Study

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The Washington Post is reporting that a California children’s hospital has found evidence that their electronic communication system may decrease the number of patient fatalities. The hospital introduced the system in 2007 and since has seen a 20-percent drop in the mortality rate of their patients. This equates to less than 36 fewer deaths over a year and a half. The lead doctor has stated that this is the lowest rate of decreased medical errors in a children’s hospital. A 1999 Institute of Medicine report stated that medical errors were responsible for 98,000 deaths per year in the United States. Since this study, many hospitals have introduced so-called computerized physician order entry to lower the number of preventable medical errors and protect patient safety and well-being.

These systems will allow doctors to relay the prescriptions of the patients to the pharmacists without delay. This also helps with the problem of a pharmacist’s inability to decipher doctors’ scrawl, thereby helping to reduce the likeliness of medication errors While many hospitals have been using this new system, this was the first study that was able to show an actual decrease in medical errors. The hospital is showing that the average mortality rate has dropped more than one death per 100 hospital with the introduction of the electronic medical errors. The Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at Levin & Perconti support any new technologies that can help to prevent or decrease medical error. In addition to helping to reduce the occurrence of medical malpractice, the system may also help to save patients’ lives. President Obama has called for a rapid implementation of the electronic system. To read more about the electronic medical system, please click the link.

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A new documentary film, “Money-Driven Medicine” tackles the economic underpinnings of an American healthcare system that kills four times as many people though medical error and preventable infections as those who die in a highway accident. The film explores the question of how a country that spends more money per capita than anywhere winds up with higher infant mortality rates and poorer hospital-care outcomes than other wealthy countries. The film proposes that the health care system isn’t patient driven but instead stockholder driven and technology crazed. The film discusses how the current health care system fails to offer optimum everyday community-based care for the average patient’s chronic conditions. One doctor describes the current health care system “a national tragedy.” It shows one man who was in the hospital with severe burns. While he was in the hospital, medical neglect and tardy responses to his complications caused an infected gall bladder, a coma, damage to his pancreas and scarring on the surface of his eyes. His wife has become an advocate for patient safety and has expressed anger over the lack of action by lawmakers to address the problem of medical errors. Free online of the film viewing can be seen on this website. To read more about medical errors, please click the link.

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Health care legislation that currently sits before Congress takes only modest steps to address a problem that is far more important than inadequate medical insurance, medical error. Recent studies show that preventable medical errors kill four times as many people than lack of medical insurance. A national Hearst investigation found that up to 200,000 people per year die from medical errors and infections in the United States. A Hearst analysis shows that the three health care reform bills currently before Congress do not include key solutions that are to address medical error. The legislation does not include safety measures, despite the recommendations from the federal study “To Err Is Human.” It appears that Congress does not have a sense of urgency about medical error. “To Err is Human” recommends mandatory reporting of medical errors and systemic changes to prevent future mistake. One provision does require national reporting of hospital-acquired infections, but not medical errors. Patient safety experts say that mandatory reporting is too important to be left out of the current healthcare reform legislation. To read more about the medical malpractice legislation, please click the link.

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Although a study conducted 10 years ago stated that a mandatory nationwide reporting system for medical errors was imperative, one still does not exist today. The AMA and the American Hospital Association vehemently opposed an attempt by President Clinton to create a mandatory reporting system for serious errors. The groups launched a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign that said mandatory reporting would drive medical errors underground. If medical errors and infections were better tracked, they would top the list of accidental deaths. The recent study by Hearst Newspapers state that approximately 99,000 patients a year die as a result medical error. To read more about the mandatory reporting system, please click the links.

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A recent investigation by the Hearst Company has drawn attention to the fact that approximately 200 thousand Americans will die this year from preventable medical errors and hospital infections. Currently 20 states have no medical error reporting system in place, five have voluntary ones and five more are developing reporting systems. Even in the 20 states that have the mandatory systems, hospitals report only a tiny percentage of their mistakes, standards vary wildly and enforcement is often nonexistent. The report also blames special interests for blocking progress in the area of medical reporting. A news medical correspondent described some of the most common medical miscues and offered advice to help keep one from being a victim of medical malpractice.

– Make sure surgeons personally sign or initial the skin of the patient over the area that’s being operated on; patients should remind all surgical personnel about the side and site of the procedure – Patient’s should ask what every single medication is that they’re given while in the hospital and remind everyone who approaches them with drugs of any allergies they have – Always look the surgeon in the eye before the operation to avoid any possibility of mistaken identity.

Communication is the greatest key to preventing medical errors which are oftentimes caused by – Poor documentation – Illegible handwriting – Sleep deprivation – Improper nurse to patient ratios