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Patients who enter hospitals are at high risk of potentially deadly infections or medical mistakes

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 by: Kaye Stringer
Tags: hospitals, medical mistakes, health news

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(NaturalNews) Americans may be putting their lives at risk every time they are admitted into a hospital. Hospitals are responsible for protecting and restoring our health, but they have instances of professional negligence and fatal errors.

The April 2011 issue of Health Affairs tackled the theme of the quality of care in American hospitals - with some alarming studies and statistics. Healthcare-associated infections and medical mistakes - including drug-related errors and preventable surgical complications - harm thousands of patients every year, with some mistakes proving lethal.Among the findings: One-third of all hospital admissions result in adverse effects from medical mistakes, and voluntary reporting methods used to currently track patient safety records miss up to 90 percent of serious medical errors. (1)

A 2002 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that nearly 100,000 deaths occur each year from healthcare-associated infections such as pneumonia, bloodstream infections, urinary tract infections, and surgical site infections. (2)

Other preventable errors - including accidental puncture or laceration, complications of anesthesia, and post-surgical sepsis - account for an additional 195,000 deaths annually.

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd explains that patients and relatives are often reluctant to speak out when they witness potentially harmful practices because they may be afraid of inciting sub-standard treatment if they anger doctors or other healthcare professionals. (3) Dowd lost her own brother when he was admitted to the hospital for pneumonia and contracted four additional infections while in the ICU.

Doctors and other healthcare professionals also have poor track records of adhering to guidelines that prevent the spread of germs, including hand-washing rules. And many American doctors continue to wear neckties, despite a 2004 study found that doctors' ties could harbor contagious microbes and superbugs. (3) (http://www.naturalnews.com/025916_antibiotic...)

The British National Health Service, meanwhile, has adopted a policy that bans doctors from wearing neckties on the grounds that they could spread the superbug Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). (4) MRSA is resistant to many antibiotics and poses a 50 percent mortality rate among hospital patients. (http://www.naturalnews.com/027619_MRSA_super...)

1. Alliance for Human Research Protection: Patients in U.S. Hospitals at High Risk of Harm from Professional Negligence
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Estimating Healthcare-Associated Infections and Deaths in U.S. Hospitals, 2002
3. New York Times: Giving Doctors Orders
4. The Times: Doctors told to cast off ties
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