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Hospitals

I recently read an article that appeared in the AARP Bulletin. You wouldn't think the AARP Bulletin would contain much in the way of valuable information and, if you have such a preconceived notion, you would be wrong. The article by Katharine Greider titled The Worst Place to Be if You're Sick is a truly eye opening exposeˈ on the state of hospital care in the United States. Much of the article is taken from the 1999 Institute of Medicine's report "To Error is Human". Most believe that nothing has changed in terms of patient safety in American hospitals in the past thirteen years. The statistics speak volumes:

  • 100,000 Americans will die in hospitals from preventable medical mistakes in 2012.
  • Patients who die each year from hospital errors is equal to four jumbo jets crashing each week.
  • One study of medicare patients found that one in seven medicare patients died or were harmed by their hospital care.
  • U.S. surgeons operate on the wrong person or body part as often as forty times a week.

The solution is not to restrict medical malpractice claims or place unrealistic caps on damages for injuries or pain and suffering as has been championed by the insurance industry or the American Medical Association. The solution, in part, is one where all persons providing medical care are held accountable for their conduct, where patients are fully informed of their rights and responsibilities, where patients are vigilant either individually or through an advocate, in monitoring their care. Katharine Greider suggest several simple steps one might take to help protect themselves if committed to a hospital:

  • Bring an advocate to the hospital, friend or family member, especially at check in and discharge.
  • Bring a notebook and write down all medication, treatments, etc.
  • Bring a large bottle of hand sanitizer.

For additional suggestions visit one of the following websites: ahrq.gov; and consumerreports.org.

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Davis & Davis Attorneys at Law

Davis & Davis Attorneys At Law