Three percent of all Medicare patients have been the victims of medical errors from 2004 to 2006, according to an annual study of patient safety. Patients treated at top-performing hospitals were 43% less likely to experience medical errors than patients at the poorest-performing hospitals. "The prevalence of likely preventable patient safety incidents is taking a costly toll on our health care systems -– in both lives and dollars," said the lead author of the study, Dr Samanatha Collier, of the health care ratings agency HealthGrades.
American hospitals are becoming safer, with the overall death rate attributed to error falling by 5% between 2004 to 2006. However, there was an increase in serious problems after operations. The most common medical errors were bed sores, failure to rescue and post-operative respiratory failure. Of the 270,500 patient deaths attributable to some form of error, 238,300 were preventable, says the study. ~ HealthDay News, Apr 8