By Jim Girards
When a 1999 study showed 98,000 patients die from hospital errors each year, it caused shock-waves throughout the hospital industry. Now, a new study in the Journal of Patient Safety available here estimates the figure at 400,000 but the authors point out that this is even low due to under-reporting of adverse safety events to regulators, and refusal of healthcare providers to tell, or document them when they are seen. The study also estimates serious harm short of death resulting from hospital errors at 10- to 20-times the death rate. The authors call to action those providers, legislators and future patients to address this serious problem in our nation and include the following quote:
‘‘All men make mistakes, but a good man
yields when he knows his course is wrong,
and repairs the evil. The only crime is
pride.’’V Sophocles, Antigone’’
It is important to note that none of these studies include the injury or death rate arising from incidents in doctor's offices or pharmacies.
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