Little Done to Stop High Rate of Hospital Errors

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A new report suggests medical mistakes are happening now more than ever and little is being done to prevent them from happening again.

The report by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows that approximately 80 percent of hospital errors go unreported.

"We don't know the full magnitude of how many patients are harmed, but some estimates say it's one in 10," said Dr. Peter Pronovost, a critical care specialist with Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

Errors include overused or wrong medications, severe bedsores, hospital-based infections, and in some cases death.

Mary Brennan-Taylor's mother was admitted to the hospital with a simple case of gout and ended up dying from a medication error.

"You should not go in to the hospital for gout and die 48 days later," Brennan-Taylor said.

Pronovost acknowledged mistakes like that will happen, but steps need to be taken to reduce the number of cases.

He created a simple checklist of common procedures. Operating rooms that use the checklist have already reduced deaths by more than 40 percent.

The problem is many hospitals don't use such lists.
    
So what can you do to ensure you're getting the best care possible?

  • Ask if your hospital uses a checklist.
  • Bring someone along who can tell nurses and doctors if you aren't acting like yourself.
  • Bring a list of all the medications you take.
  • If you notice something out of the ordinary, speak up.

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Lorie  Johnson

Lorie Johnson

CBN News Medical Reporter

Lorie Johnson reports on the latest information about health and wellness. Since medicine is constantly changing, she makes sure CBN News viewers are up-to-date on what they need to know in order to live a healthy life.  Follow Lorie on Twitter @LorieCBN and "like" her at Facebook.com/LorieJohnsonCBN.