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Patient safety a nationwide problem

November 29, 2010

Check out the NYtimes article on a recent study showing that patient safety issues in hospitals are not only frequent, they’re just as common as they were years ago.  The research was based on data collected from 2o02-2007 from 10 hospitals in North Carolina.

Dr. Landrigan’s team focused on North Carolina because its hospitals, compared with those in most states, have been more involved in programs to improve patient safety.

But instead of improvements, the researchers found a high rate of problems. About 18 percent of patients were harmed by medical care, some more than once, and 63.1 percent of the injuries were judged to be preventable. Most of the problems were temporary and treatable, but some were serious, and a few — 2.4 percent — caused or contributed to a patient’s death, the study found.

The findings were a disappointment but not a surprise, Dr. Landrigan said. Many of the problems were caused by the hospitals’ failure to use measures that had been proved to avert mistakes and to prevent infections from devices like urinary catheters, ventilators and lines inserted into veins and arteries.

We still have a long way to go before hospital stays are as safe as they should be.

 

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