How to cut down on medical mistakes
What's the best way to cut down on medical mistakes? If you're thinking "improve safety and learn from previous mistakes," then you don't have what it takes to be a doctor these days.
No, here's their idea of boosting safety: Change the definition of "mistake" so it doesn't include your own screw-up -- and whatever you do, don't report it... don't investigate it... and don't take steps to make sure it never happens again.
There. Except for the dead patient, it's like it never happened.
Believe it or not, that's not some wild exaggeration -- that's the picture of American hospitals painted by a damning new report from our own government.
The Department of Health and Human Services says six out of seven medical mistakes are never reported, as required under Medicare rules -- in many cases because these mistakes happen so often that doctors and nurses don't even think of them as mistakes!
Injuries, infections, wrong meds, overdoses, bedsores, patient mix-ups -- you name it, it's happening... and it's happening thousands of times a day.
That's why doctors and nurses are REQUIRED to report them... that's why hospitals are REQUIRED to keep a record on them.
But according to the new report, only a fraction of those mistakes are reported -- and only a fraction of those ever lead to changes in policy or practice designed to prevent the mistake from happening again.
That's why 130,000 patients are hurt -- and 15,000 people are KILLED -- by medical screw-ups every single month.
And that's why it's going to keep happening.
Want to know what's really scary here? Those are just the numbers for Medicare patients. Throw in everyone else, and who knows how high the real numbers are -- but it's clear your life is on the line every time you set foot in a hospital.