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New push to reduce medical malpractice in hospitals

| Oct 7, 2011 | Surgical Errors

Hospital errors can be devastating to a patient at a Boston hospital. There are many types of hospital errors including nursing malpractice, failure to monitor a change in condition, and failure to diagnose a treatable condition such as cancer. Each of these mistakes can dramatically change the course of a patient’s life and cause severe personal injuries or even death.

Last week we discussed a dramatic case of hospital negligence which resulted in a man receiving a kidney infected with hepatitis C. Surgical errors such as this one are not uncommon which is why many hospitals in Boston and around the country are turning to new solutions to tackle the number of medical malpractice incidents that occur every day.

One physician, Dr. Donald Berwick, is spearheading the malpractice reduction efforts for the Medicare and Medicaid programs. These programs spend approximately a third of their $1 trillon budget on errors, waste and unnecessary care.

Berwick was pleased to see the creation of a “MedZone” in one hospital. The MedZone is a quiet area where nurses can place medication orders without interruption. The MedZone cuts down on medication errors caused by staff distraction and helps save money and lives. The implementation of the MedZone cut medication errors down by two-thirds in that particular hospital.

A government study from last year indicates that 1 in 7 Medicare patients are hurt during a hospital stay. This is an unacceptably high number which Berwick aims to reduce drastically.

“Too many Americans are being harmed by the care that is supposed to help them,” says Berwick.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Pressing for better quality across healthcare,” Noam N. Levey, Oct. 4, 2011


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