A recent study released by a nonprofit organization confirms that hospital and medical errors are the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S. each year. This statistic is staggering but unfortunately not surprising! According to The Leapfrog Group, 440,000 patients are dying each year due to preventable hospital errors.
“We are burying a population the size of Miami every year from medical errors that can be prevented. A number of hospitals have improved by one or even two grades, indicating hospitals are taking steps toward safer practices, but these efforts aren’t enough,” says Leah Binder, president and CEO of Leapfrog. Accountability and accepting responsibility when preventable medical errors occur should be part of the process. Instead we see and hear denial, blame others and various excuses for the “bad outcome,” instead of the truth and acceptance of fault. The goal of organizations that truly want to improve patient safety should start with the mandatory reporting of preventable medical errors. Transparency should be the goal, rather than hiding behind closed committee doors so that the root cause of the problem can be determined.
As a society, we remain in the dark about what happens on a day-to-day basis in hospitals, hoping that our care will be “world-class.” Sometimes it is and other times it falls far afield. Mandatory reporting of preventable medical errors at the state and national level is a start. Our political leaders, the popular press and the medical profession needs to stop denying that there is a problem and start concentrating efforts on finding solutions and accepting responsibility for errors that needlessly cause wrongful deaths in hospitals.
The fear of litigation has been so overstated as the reason for doctors and hospitals not reporting errors. Litigation, the process of holding a doctor or hospital accountable is necessary to protect the injured and to force safety to become the No. 1 goal. Unless and until the medical community stops blaming lawyers and injured patients that bring claims and concentrate on preventing medical errors from occurring in the first place, the statistics will continue to rise.
The full article can be found at http://www.hospitalsafetyscore.org/hospitalerrors-thirdleading-causeofdeathinus-improvementstooslow