Shocking Leading Cause Of American Deaths4 months, 1 week ago
Posted on Sep 06, 2018, 5 p.m.
According to a shocking study from researchers at John Hopkins upwards of 250,000 Americans die within the USA every year due to medical errors, other studies report that number may be even as high as 440,000; advocates are pushing back and fighting for greater legislation for patient safety. According to the CDC over 2 million patients die in hospital within the USA from various causes.
Reason for discrepancy may be that physicians, coroners, funeral directors, and medical examiners rarely note human errors and system failures are involved on death certificates, which is questioned by many advocates, saying more light needs to be drawn to the subject. Robert Anderson of the CDC figures has previously acknowledged death certificates likely under report full causes of death, yet these same death certificates are what the CDC relies on to make estimates on statistics for death nationwide. The CDC uses death collection systems that only tallies causes of death that have occurred from injuries, diseases, and morbid conditions. John Hopkins researchers and others from additional institutions have appealed to the CDC to change the manner in which it collects data from death certificates, but to date no changes have been made.
Death due to medical error is one due to a few factors such a system defect, a preventable adverse effect, error in judgement, of inadequately skilled staff, which includes computer breakdowns, surgical complications going undiagnosed, and mix ups with doses or types of medications administered to patients.
In the USA patient care study exploring death rates for 8 consecutive years it was discovered based on a total of 35,416,020 hospitalizations there was a pooled incidence rate of 251,454 deaths per year, that’s roughly 9.5% of all deaths stemming from medical error.
Workers in the medical field are hard working, caring, and dedicated people, but they are still humans who on occasion make mistakes, “ to err is human”. Such organizations as The Emily Jerry Foundation were formed to seek greater safeguards for patients, focusing primarily on medication safety and better training for pharmacy technicians along with backup procedures to improve the health care system. The foundations has unveiled a National Pharmacy Technician Initiative that is an interactive scorecard to help make the public aware of unsafe pharmacy practices within the USA, and travels the country to speak about kep patient safety related issues and best practices proven to minimize human error components of medicine.
Pascal Metrics also designs ways to improve patient safety and clinical reliability at health organizations and facilities, saying the system of care is fragmented, any tools enabling patients to better manage health care needs will be game changers. To help improve safety of mediation use they have developed and implemented a computerized physician order entry program that harnesses health information technology via electronic health records of hospitalized and ambulatory patients at LDS Hospital, Salt Lake City.
Many hospitals are trying to keep pace with available technology to help improve patient safety, making all electronic records become double checked, with fail safe devices in place. Most physician’s offices are also now keeping electronic records, as well as recording conversations among doctors, patients, and nurses to make certain of clarity and no mistakes result. Even with this ordinary complications can occur, especially from unneeded medical care. Up to 20% of all medical procedure may be unnecessary according to Dr. Martin Makary who faults overprescription of medication following surgery, especially opioids which he says doctors have been encouraged and sometimes paid by companies to promote their products as revealed by the website Dollars for Docs showing 43 doctors earning more than $200,000 based on reports from 7 companies that publicly disclosed payments in review of the highest earning physicians, offering insight into why some medical professionals are drawn to the lucrative sideline.
Dr. John James says there needs to be a balance between provider communities and patients, right now it is not even a relationship, which can cause communication errors that are unfortunately very common. James mission is to teach people how to be empowered patients and has created a patient bill of rights that is being pushed to become a federal law. James says his letter to the CDC have been going unanswered. He has a website called Patient Safety America that lists 3 ways a patient can help better protect themselves: 1) Being a wise consumer of health by demanding quality, cost effective care; 2) participating in patient safety leadership through commissions, panels and boards implementing laws and policy; 3) pushing for laws that favor safer care, accountability, and transparency.
Patients can be vigilant by asking questions and doing research; seeking second even third opinions to get confirmation of uncertainties as a good doctor will welcome this not resist or discourage patients from learning more in what some advocates call attempts to silence and gag the patient; bring an advocate along with you as it can be hard to process all of the information and remember to ask questions; and download a valid trustworthy app to have medical information available in the palm of your hands that may help to cut down risks of medical errors, and help patients to better manage well being, medications, and health care needs.
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