U.S. Secretary of HHS Issues Call To Eliminate Medical Mistakes

Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers have frequently called for a return in focus toward decreasing the prevalence of medical mistakes and away from misguided attempts at cutting out the legal rights of victims. Recently, the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, issued a similar call. The Philadelphia Inquirer reprinted the opinion piece urging a new focus on tackling medical errors.

Secretary Sebelius explains how the health care system in the United States offers the best quality anywhere to some but for others it falls far short. A new study emphasized that one in three hospital patients is harmed by the care given to them at area hospitals. Overall, nearly 100,000 Americans are killed every year because of medical mistakes that should have been prevented.

The cost of those losses is staggering. The pain and anguish of grieving friends and family members can never be calculated. Added to that loss is the enormous effect that the errors have on the rising cost of health care. The monetary cost of dealing with the complications of these errors is in the tens of billions each year. Yet, too little attention is paid to eliminating the problem.

Often, explains the Secretary, the problem is caused by bad health care environments at hospitals and medical clinics, where a culture of poor care pervades. To change that, innovative patient safety protocols exist which can drastically lower, if not eliminate, many common mistakes. Yet, it remains a struggle to get hospitals to try these life-saving strategies. Even then, there is very little coordination and tracking of the successes of various programs.

Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Levin & Perconti know that nearly $100 billion and 100,000 lives can be saved each year if preventable medical errors are eliminated entirely. With all that at stake, there is no excuse for failing to take all action to achieve that goal. We urge everyone to do everything in their power to encourage better patient safety efforts.

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