01 Jul Hospital patient safety: Bad and getting worse
Hospitals may soon have to post signs saying “Enter at Your Own Risk” or “Hospitals Can be Hazardous to Your Health.”
In 1999, the Institute of Medicine issued its landmark study, “To Err is Human,” which revealed that one million people become ill or injured while in the hospital because of medical mistakes; 100,000 of them die. Now, nearly a decade and a half later — and despite the intervention of 15 or so organizations dedicated wholly or partly to patient safety — the number of such deaths has increased two and a half times to 250,000. During this same general period, according to the American Hospital Association, the number of hospital admissions increased by only 4% (from 35 million in 2000 to 36.5 million in 2011, the last year for which complete data are available).
Clearly, whatever is being tried to solve the problem isn’t working and something more must be done.