After a generation of fighting the campaign of distortion sprouting from the tort reform movement, patient safety and quality of care have been shed a new light. New protections have been put in place to identify and penalize those health care providers that don’t do enough to limit mistakes.
In December 2012, The Wall Street Journal and The Atlantic published a study that revealed at least 4,000 “never events” (wrong site surgery, implements left behind, etc.) occur annually in American hospitals. Again..
...at least 4,000 ‘never events’ occur annually in American hospitals.
Just days after this new study was released, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported about a new Medicare program to reward or punish hospitals based on how consistently they fulfilled a dozen standards of care and how patients rated the care they received. The findings were startling:
18 area hospitals will be penalized, 22 will be rewarded, and two held harmless..
Perhaps the most bewildering story so far was the hour long CNN “25 Most Shocking Medical Mistakes” that ran over the weekend, featuring stories told of the impact medical mistakes have on people. Medical errors kill more than a quarter million people every year in the United States and injure millions. Add them all up and "you have probably the third leading cause of death" in the country, says Dr. Peter Pronovost, an anesthesiologist and critical care physician at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Over 250,000 deaths every year, and most stories go untold. With so much of the media’s attention going to “frivolous lawsuits” and the cost of healthcare going up due to fraudulent claims against doctors, patient safety has taken a backseat for too long. Hopefully this new push to enlighten others on what’s going on behind the scenes and never being told will strengthen the fight to ensure safety in hospitals and clinics throughout the country.