Study: Treatment mistakes for 1 in 7 hospitalized Medicare patients
November 16th, 2010
05:44 PM ET

Study: Treatment mistakes for 1 in 7 hospitalized Medicare patients

One in every seven hospitalized Medicare patients are harmed by treatment mistakes,  according to new analysis by the Department of Health & Human Services released Tuesday.

The report cites a variety of "adverse events" or causes for treatment errors, including excessive bleeding after surgery, urinary tract infections linked to catheters and incorrect medications.  Researchers estimate that these types of adverse events contribute to 15,000 deaths per month or 180,000 deaths each year, according to the report.

Some patient-rights groups are calling these findings alarming.

"The country is in a patient safety crisis," said David Arkush, the director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch Division in a statement. "The only workable solution to preventing unnecessary deaths and injuries is to combine much more patient-protective hospital protocols with much better scrutiny by hospitals of physicians and other health care providers, and to appropriately discipline those whose performance results in preventable patient harm."

The American Hospital Association, which represents 5,000 hospitals in the United States, said it is committed to improvement.

"While hospitals have made great strides in improving care, this report highlights that there is more we can do," Rich Umbdenstock, President and CEO of the American Hospital Association, told CNN in a statement. "Hospitals are already engaged in important projects designed to improve patient care in many of the areas mentioned in the report.  We are committed to taking additional needed steps to improve patient care."

 For patients concerned about harmful mistakes in the hospital, here's a few tips to help you stay safe.

 1. Bring someone with you to the hospital

Having an advocate at your side who can help insure that your concerns won't go unheard during a hospital stay.

2. Know your medications

Get a daily list of all the medications you're taking and their dosages. When the hospital staffer comes to give you your medicine, make sure what he's giving you matches your list.

 3. Be cautious of catheters

These can be the source of infections.  Ask whether you really need one.  Don't let hospital personnel leave it in any longer than necessary.

soundoff (235 Responses)
  1. Aetna

    what are the stats for a patient with Aetna Insurance?

    November 16, 2010 at 18:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Scott

      LOL you're toast.

      November 16, 2010 at 18:33 | Report abuse |
    • Sagebrush Shorty


      November 16, 2010 at 18:47 | Report abuse |
    • Chip

      My company uses Aetna and I can vouch – they SUCK! So does USA health care – period.
      The quality health care i get is so bad I'm considering opting out of buying insurance for the first time, ever.

      November 16, 2010 at 19:00 | Report abuse |
    • Aetna's Wife

      Honey I upgraded your life ins. to 1 million...Hey guys I may be available soon...People tell me I look like Amber Lyon....

      November 16, 2010 at 19:29 | Report abuse |
    • chessyjames

      "Some patient-rights groups are calling these findings alarming." Say what!? So which patients-rights groups AREN'T calling them alarming? 15,000 deaths per month and 180,000 deaths per year caused by mistakes aren't enough for some? I wonder what number of deaths caused by mistakes would be enough to reach the "alarming" threshhold?

      November 16, 2010 at 20:42 | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      No wonder there was an outcry against universal health care... more people would die.

      November 16, 2010 at 22:16 | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      And politicians have the gall to make "tort" reform an issue. A patient's ability to sue for malpractice is the last line of defense for the patient and his/her family. Be weart folks of ANY governmental "reform" promoted by special interest that limits or constrains your rights in ANY way.

      November 16, 2010 at 22:32 | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      Ken – not true – its the workload not the amount of nursing school. Experience rules all in mananaging health issues.

      Eric – s#8+ happens, do you how small staph is, we do what we can staph is everywhere.

      David Arkush – Nature has nothing to do with this? People get sick and die. Medicine is a science, an educated guess. Medicines are safe for most people but then so are peanuts. UTi's – you try sticking a tube into someones bladder through a small dry orifice when someone is already sick and compromised. Bleeding – have you ever seen what a persons anatomy looks like, not one person's vessel's are the same in size, shape, or fortitude. Most people cannot set their dvd clocks with detailed instructions in front of them and you want us to wave a magic wand and heal everyone perfectly.

      Get a clue all, medicine is a guessing game played by many skilled and caring people. We wish we all had out of body scanners that would tell us just what was wrong and how it could be fixed.

      Lastly why is it that the government can mandate us to carry auto insurance and that is ok, but as soon as they want us to all carry health ins. you say boo. Most people pay 2grand to insure their Dodge Neon's but balk to pay the same to protect their bodies.
      Health is not lego's folks.

      November 17, 2010 at 03:00 | Report abuse |
    • Sandy

      It's not just the insurance it's the "system"!

      November 17, 2010 at 07:44 | Report abuse |
    • A Nurse

      Here's the thing.....everything that can be said to be preventable is not always avoidable! When someone is ill enough to be hospitalized things may occur due to the fact that you are dealing with a dynamic system that is acutely or chronically compromised that make the situation worse. The human body is not a machine. Just because drugs or treatments are supposed to work doesn't mean they always do. Sick people sometimes get sicker and even die without any hint of errors being committed. Articles like this cause patients to be frightened and mistrustful unnecessarily. Yes you have a right to question medical staff and you have a responsibility to be your own advocate but keep in mind that these people have spent years learning and perfecting their skills and their goal is to get you well and back to life as you've always lived it.
      I would also submit that in this country we have the habit of wasting precious resources on individuals whose natural end of life is happening. Chronic blood transfusions, dialysis, transplants are expensive, labor intensive, highly technical treatments that are never a sure thing or a permanent solution and create their own cycle of constant care and cost. We must learn to recognize that death is inevitable no matter what we throw at it $$$$ and shift our focus to quality rather than how long we can delay it.

      November 17, 2010 at 08:13 | Report abuse |
    • .

      Tony, to answer your question, "why is it that the government can mandate us to carry auto insurance and that is ok, but as soon as they want us to all carry health ins. you say boo," just remember the differences between driving a car, and maintaining your own body. When you're in your car, you're wielding a large piece of fast-moving machinery around others who are doing the same. If you cause an accident, you negatively impact others, whereas, unless you're carrying a dangerous infectious disease, health insurance impacts just you and your own family. If you're not insured with an auto policy and you're at fault in an accident, there is no guarantee you will be capable of reimbursing those you've directly impacted for the damages you inflicted on them. On top of that, with auto insurance, you have options. We pay for our own insurance directly, and can tailor that insurance based on our needs and the options available from whichever company we've chosen, be it a smaller insurer or a large company. We don't have government run blanket/one size fits all auto insurance.

      November 17, 2010 at 09:15 | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      ha – me too

      November 25, 2010 at 23:35 | Report abuse |
  2. Joe

    This group of people is easy money for the medical industry. If a few people die, the money will not stop. That's all that matters...money, profits, inflated unjustified salaries, the bottom line. NOTHING else takes precedence over money in America. Don't let any politician or self-proclaimed "patriot" tell you otherwise. When will you people wake up and realize the "hierarchy of importance" in this country? If you haven't figured it out...here it is...from most important to least important:

    1. Money
    2. Acquiring "Stuff" (houses, cars, gold, athletic children)
    3. Power/influence
    4. Politics
    5. Religion
    6. Social issues
    7. Caring about others
    8. Safety/health
    9. Death

    November 16, 2010 at 18:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • John

      CNN puts Bedbugs Number 1

      November 16, 2010 at 18:39 | Report abuse |
    • kelly

      @joe- how do you consider "athletic kids" stuff?

      November 16, 2010 at 18:46 | Report abuse |
    • Kevin Smith

      Hey Joe,
      Remember; life is like a sh*t sandwich, the more bread you have, the less sh*t you have to eat.

      November 16, 2010 at 19:23 | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      I agree but money should take up two spots.

      November 16, 2010 at 22:41 | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      You forgot smartphones.

      November 16, 2010 at 22:48 | Report abuse |
    • Halime

      Yes, Joe I totally agree with you and sit back and laugh at the majority. People are just lost and blind and that's the way God wants it. Only the few chosen know what is REALLY going on!

      November 16, 2010 at 23:38 | Report abuse |
    • queen

      You are 100% right. The dollar is the big cahoona. Hospitals couldn't care less about their patients, workers, or the condition/cleanliess of their facility. ALL they care about is the buck and how to make more of it.

      November 17, 2010 at 08:40 | Report abuse |
    • queen

      Don't forget "physical gratification". That should be on that list also.

      November 17, 2010 at 08:42 | Report abuse |
    • FatAmerican

      CHEESEBURGERS are number 1....followed by entertainment...t.v. movies , video games.........
      The new america=FAT and LAZY

      November 17, 2010 at 10:14 | Report abuse |
  3. AAD

    So compare the outcomes of hospital care, including those after adverse events, to not receiving care at all. I would rather have a urinary tract infection than die of a heart attack. This title is ridiculous, and the 'Public Citizen's Watch' seems more concerned with making a name for themselves by fear mongering. 'Safety crisis', really? Based on what? Can they really tell the public that outcomes for patients are worse than 10 years ago. If that were true, we would not have a growing elderly population causing strain on our health care system. That's what needs to be addressed.

    November 16, 2010 at 18:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Burbank

      What needs to be addressed is the 12 million illegal aliens causing a strain on our healthcare system. The "elderly" have been paying taxes to educate your brats and even buy their lunches at school all their lives as well as all these illegals, not to mention taxes to support welfare scammers on top of the things taxes are normally meant for such as public roadways, waterworks and other infrastructure.

      They have supported everyone else all thier lives and now when it's their turn, the current, spoiled, entitled generation of adults (their own offspring) are already whining about it. Get a clue! Whiner! Boo-hoo-hoo!

      November 16, 2010 at 18:54 | Report abuse |
    • vonh

      "I would rather have a urinary tract infection than die of a heart attack."

      According to the study, you may get both.

      November 16, 2010 at 19:10 | Report abuse |
    • Paul Blair

      @Burbank: Illegal aliens place less of a burden on our health care system that citizens of the same socioeconomic class. They also bankroll 10% of the current social security trust fund.

      November 16, 2010 at 19:11 | Report abuse |
    • vonh

      I do agree with part of your post. Outcomes are probably not as bad as ten years ago, as most hospitals have better tracking systems in place. But I have a disabled daughter who has spent months in hospitals, and I inform them at admission that I don't want them to treat her for ANYTHING without my approval. I think anyone (including medical professionals) who has spent significant time at the bedside would agree. You just would not believe the disasters that have been averted.

      November 16, 2010 at 19:14 | Report abuse |
    • Smartster

      Who cares if medical outcomes sucked this bad ten years ago, if they sucked then and they suck now they still suck and someting should be done about it. Also, a growing elderly population does not prove that health care is good, that's a poor argument. I bet the main reason we have a growing elderly population is that the babay boomers are becoming elderly.

      November 16, 2010 at 19:17 | Report abuse |
    • tony

      Rather have a UTI? My wife was (and still is) crippled in just 3 days because our doctor ignored the recently added black box warning and prescribed her the incredibly dangerous antibiotic CIPRO for a simple UTI. US Health care is all for profit and the drug compnies are immune from lawsuits, so they just kill and main a small percentage of US citizens and don't care as they laugh all the way to the bank.

      November 16, 2010 at 19:24 | Report abuse |
    • vonh

      We have a growing elderly population because people aren't dying young anymore. Old people don't live any longer, it's just that now they reach old age.

      November 16, 2010 at 19:25 | Report abuse |
    • Elizardbeth Crowin Big Dog Medical gossip spreader

      *************************************************BREAKING NEWS******************************************************************8
      **************************************************************************************THIS JUST IN*****************************
      ***************FLUOROQUINOLONES CRIPPLE*************************************************************************
      *********************************************************************MORE TO COME LATER*******************

      November 16, 2010 at 20:00 | Report abuse |
    • Kate Murphy

      Based on my hospital experience....the hospitals are chronically UNDERSTAFFED!!! Not by docotors but RNs and LPNs that perorm this type of work. When I was in the hospital 18 months ago....the person that treated me the best was the young lady that cleaned my room!!! The nursing staff was short staffed. I made sure the hospital administration knew it, too!

      November 16, 2010 at 20:10 | Report abuse |
    • DN3

      Kate Murphy, you have it right on the money. Understaffed, overworked, underexperienced help is the problem. Where I work, a cost cutting measure is hiring less experienced nursing staff. These are the ones that make more mistakes. Medication errors can occur at any level from the doctor's chart order to the nurse who administers the drug. The advocate is a very good idea, preferably someone in the profession.

      November 16, 2010 at 22:26 | Report abuse |
    • FyrDncr

      Totally agree. What is misleading as well is they put "Treatment Mistakes" in the title and the first 2 they list (UTIs from catheters and bleeding after surgery) are adverse events, not treatment mistakes. UTI... let's see, if these patients don't have catheters then chances are they will sit wet in their own urine for periods of time, thus leading to UTIs anyway. Let's not forget the nursing shortage crisis. And bleeding after surgery? It happens, and at nobody's fault. So a heart patient with stents on coumadin has a bowel obstruction. Do you stop their coumadin, risk an occlusion of their stent (thus leading to a heart attack that could kill them) and wait for their coagulation time to improve to lessen the chances of bleeding after surgery, or do the bowel surgery because if you don't they will most likely perforate their bowel and die from sepsis? Medicine is not an exact science, it is intricate and evolving, and often times fingers cannot be pointed. It's called life.

      November 17, 2010 at 01:53 | Report abuse |
    • dj moore

      my mother passed away 2 years ago . she was in and out of the hospital i dont know how many times . she was in a nursing home for 8 years and i will tell you the home ,DOCTOR, and hospital put her and us thru LIVING HELL . they didnt listen to anything . they didnt seem to care how they treated the patient . our medical care SUCKS BIG TIME ,. has for a llong time and will continue for a long time to come its all greed and people just dont Care for people anymore !!! this wasnt only my mother that got this awful care !!!! its all a racket peroid

      November 17, 2010 at 02:05 | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      I would add that while this new report is oft quoted, I've never seen it. Is it valid? We really can't judge for ourselves.

      November 17, 2010 at 05:49 | Report abuse |
  4. Burbank

    And what about all the people that go in to a hospital with something routine and come out with a superbug??? Meanwhile the greedy AMA charges you exorbiantly for the privilege of being infected by them...

    November 16, 2010 at 18:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bubba

      What? You think superbugs are free?

      November 16, 2010 at 21:30 | Report abuse |
    • The Dude

      1. Superbugs are created by the people who go in to their doctor's office demanding antibiotics for a trivial viral infection, and perpetrated by the docs who don't take the time to explain why the patient doesn't need antibiotics.

      2. Superbugs are furthered by doctors using unnecessary antibiotics which is a by-product of fear of lawsuits or nonpayment from insurance company x should the patient develop a hospital acquired infection. Remember that the majority of people that see said patient do not practice hand hygiene (hospital staff and visitors alike) so the chances of infection are ten-fold.

      3. The AMA doesn't set the standard for costs, that's the hospital administration and the insurance companies.

      4. Please educate yourself before spouting off on any further topics.

      November 16, 2010 at 21:32 | Report abuse |
    • MikefromWV

      My primary doctor recently told me that in any given problem a patient may present, the doctor is told he/she must choose from drugs the insurance company says must be used. If they fail to prescribe the drug(s) stipulated by the insurance company, the insurance company will refuse to pay the doctor for anything and everything dealing with that problem. It is out and out extortion.

      As far as hospitals go, I can speak from being a patient in hospitals on multiple, multiple occasions. Hospital care is routinely poor and unsafe. You must remain vigilant. Our local hospital is accredited by the hospital association. But, and this is a big but, they get advance warning that the accreditation people are coming to evaluate their hospital. They quickly do whatever is required to be in compliance, to retain their accreditation. But, as soon as the evaluation team leaves and the hospital has their accreditation renewed, the unsafe practices resume. Be vigilant. It is your life they threaten.

      November 16, 2010 at 23:22 | Report abuse |
    • Rik

      Well said but may I add a 5th point to your comment.
      5. Patients that do not follow instructions on how to take their antibiotics (ABx) are a big problem. Lets assume that the antibiotic (ABx) you are prescribed is appropriate. Many people will only take their ABx until they "feel better", perhaps 4 of the prescribed 7 days. Unfortunately "feeling better" doesn't necessarily mean the causative germ is dead or the patient is infection free. By not finishing the prescription and eliminating the infection, the weakened germ(s) causing the infection is allowed to becomes stronger & more resistant to the ABx that should have killed it the 1st time.
      Taking ABx inappropriately eventually makes the standard effective treatment ineffective to the now more resistant germ and a new drug is needed. If a new drug isn't available we have a "super bug" that is resistant to ABx.
      As if this isn't bad enough. Typically what happens next is the patient either saves the ABx to use the next time they feel sick regardless of what is making them ill. Or patients share their ABx with their friends & loved ones to either save them a trip to their own Dr or stave off the increasing cost of prescriptions. Sharing ABx is dangerous not only for the above reason but also because sharing ABx could be fatal if your friend or loved one is allergic to your ABx.
      Bottom line;
      If you get a prescription for ABx, (or any drug) follow the instructions to the letter. Any left over ABx should be discarded or returned to your pharmacist; not saved for next time or shared with others..

      November 17, 2010 at 05:37 | Report abuse |

      If antibiotic resistance is creating super bugs and increasing resistance to the drug, then why doesn't the FDA ban the use of antibiotics on cows? The drugs end up in the meat and milk products of these animals, we ingest them, and resistance is created. Has anyone noticed that the appearance of these super bugs and antibiotic resistance co-incide with the introduction of antibiotic used in meat and milk producing farm animals?

      November 17, 2010 at 09:14 | Report abuse |
  5. TBera

    We had a local hospital that their slogan was "Neighbors caring for Neighbors." At the hospital, we changed it to "Neighbors killing Neighbors." Isn't honesty the best policy? Of course, having a nurse that slept with a patient that reached national attention, some nurses started wearing a rose with their uniform. Either way, patients left our hospital content...

    November 16, 2010 at 18:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. rand

    Go to a hospital in Zimbabwe and you will really see how dangerous hospitals can be.............

    November 16, 2010 at 18:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • vonh

      By using a false comparison you are belittling news that could directly affect you when you are hospitalized. 180,000/year is 180,000 too many. Humans are imperfect so you'll always have errors, but hospitals and health systems must continue to be pressured to improve their delivery systems.

      November 16, 2010 at 19:18 | Report abuse |
    • LKJ

      Don't make baseless comparisons. I was in a hospital in Thailand once and received very good care.

      November 16, 2010 at 23:26 | Report abuse |
  7. John Kisnofovich

    You do realize that the number of adverse events occurring in any given country aside from the US (per patient day) is higher, right? Closer to 1 in 5 (actually, 19%) of hospitalized patients in the SAFEST of all other countries in terms of hospital care (Spain) suffers because of an adverse event or "treatment mistake" as CNN puts it. While the concern for patient safety is appreciated, the criticism of the safest hospital environments in the world - those in the US - is misplaced.

    November 16, 2010 at 19:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • tony

      Not compared to Europe. CIPRO is held back for use in simple situations only in case of dire need and no other drug is suitable

      November 16, 2010 at 19:30 | Report abuse |
    • Chris R

      Care to provide some supporting evidence for this claim?

      November 17, 2010 at 01:03 | Report abuse |
  8. Rick Sheridan

    If a single person dies of herbs or other natural remedy there are huge headlines. Meanwhile thousands of people die from Western high-tech medicine and there is hardly anything reported. Must be a money connection...

    November 16, 2010 at 19:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mike

      The difference is that those simple herbs and remedies never save a person's life to begin with! Tell me, what root will fix a heart attack?

      November 16, 2010 at 21:46 | Report abuse |
    • Nimrod

      Ever hear of digitalis? That is the genus of plants known as foxglove which is the original source of a very important cardiac medication. How about salicylic acid (also known as Aspirin) which originally came from the bark of the willow tree? Aspirin has become an important first treatment for people suffering a heart attack caused by a blood clot since aspirin is an effective blood thinner.

      November 17, 2010 at 00:51 | Report abuse |
  9. sanaz

    As a health care provider for the past 12 years it saddens me to see what public opinion of physicians has become. We are so busy trying to take care of patients that we have ignored the media and politicians turning us into scapegoats for the public. Physicians are not greedy, unfeeling, incompetent jerks as articles like this would have you believe. We work long hours, adhere to more regulation and scrutiny than at any time in history, and face ever shrinking reimbursement. Studies and articles like this are ammunition for the insurance companies, mainly medicare, to further cut payment to the people actually taking care of you. Be careful what you read folks, it's coming from a source painting it to address their own needs.

    November 16, 2010 at 19:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • vonh

      Thank you for continuing your commitment to this profession. As a frequent client of hospitals, I am happy to see this information publicized...not to bash medical professionals, but rather to acknowledge that the system and the people are not perfect and that patients should not expect perfection (and be prepared to participate in their own treatment). At the same time, I can honestly say that the doctors I've dealt with in the last decade are much more approachable and reasonable than in the past. It's now a rare event to run into a 'House', whereas it was once an expected and dreaded event.

      November 16, 2010 at 19:35 | Report abuse |
    • Hunsaker

      Well then, what would you call 180,000 Medicare deaths, by mistreatment, mistakes and poor emplyees, the patient's fault?

      November 16, 2010 at 20:27 | Report abuse |
    • vonh

      @Hunsaker: Nobody's saying that it's the patient's fault, although an uneducated and/or non-assertive patient can be part of the problem. It's a complex issue that's not going to be solved in this forum, but one area where I see a glaring problem is too many cooks in the kitchen. Rarely is the care of a patient under the direct supervision of one doctor, so several doctors from various departments can and do write orders for conflicting/unnecessary procedures or medications. We have so many specialists that the primary care of the patient can take a backseat to whomever is currently reviewing the chart. Regardless, if you don't want to become one of these statistics, the most important thing you can ever do when you're admitted to a hospital...is GET OUT! Seriously, the longer you are 'treated', the more likely something can go wrong. When you're admitted, make sure there's a discharge plan in place, then hold them to that. There are many things that can only be done in a hospital, but you normally have a much better outcome at home, and so much testing nowadays can be done as an outpatient.

      November 16, 2010 at 20:49 | Report abuse |
    • Old Fool

      I hear you. That is why we need single payer. We need to do more to get more people working in the hospitals and get medical providers paid a fair wage. But that takes money. Cut out the insurance companies and go to a single payer system and there will be more there per capita than there is now. Cut out the healthcare denial system and you will put more in your pocket and have more time to concentrate on people.

      November 16, 2010 at 20:54 | Report abuse |
  10. Oompa Looms

    Kaiser is the worst for medication f**k ups. Been on dilantin for 20 yrs and er dr says naw...u dont need that anymore. here take tegratol instead. the next night after a $1700 ride in an ambulance the er dr says i have dilantin toxicity. Kaiser got my Epilepsy drugs so messed up that i cant work anymore.

    November 16, 2010 at 19:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Hospital PharmD

    As a hospital pharmacist who prides himself at helping to decrease medical errors. I would like more patients to ask the medical residents and attendings more questions. We (as pharmacists) should round with all medical teams to help manage the patients medications. We went to school to study how medications work and how to make their use the safest! I say always ask to speak to the clinical pharmacist to ask them about your medicaitons!

    November 16, 2010 at 19:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Old Fool

      Sadly too few of us know who or what to ask. It's all very complicated to the average Joe or Jane. You would think that with 12 years in a school system someone, somewhere would add classes on how to talk to doctors, nurses and other specialists. they would have to add a hospital element. Maybe a volunteer service element. If they know what to ask and what to do when it hits the fan they will be more treatable patients.

      November 16, 2010 at 21:39 | Report abuse |
    • MikefromWV

      I routinely have run in's with hospital pharmacists. I go into the hospital knowing what medications I take, and when I am supposed to take them, in the manner that is best suited to my body and my body's reactions to drugs. The hospital pharmacist is always trying to substitute one or more of my drugs with something else, that is not as effective (but is cheaper!). In addition, they tell the nursing staff to when to administer the drugs, often contrary to what is best for me. As an example, I take relatively heavy doses of diuretics on a daily basis. I have had staff bring me my second dose of diuretics at eight at night and I then have to refuse the medication. I asked the nurse if she would take diuretics that late in the evening and be willing to pee all night long. No, I trust my own experience with medications. I do not trust the hospital pharmacists one little bit!

      November 16, 2010 at 23:32 | Report abuse |
  12. Tiffany

    Look guys the problem is not just with illegals and elderly, its with everyone abusing the system. I have worked in the healthcare industry for over 7 yrs and I see it all. Because we have a broken healthcare system is why these mistakes happen. People use the ER's like there primary doctors office because technically we can't turn them away. I see plenty of people that come in that shouldn't be there. For example a broken nail, cough for an hour, stuffy nose for a day, abdominal pain(which 90 % of the time is gas), and etc. Those don't warrant ER visits. Those people should be at CVS first asking a pharamacist what is the best medicine to take and when should I go to the doctor. Pharamacists are more than willing to help. Also why do people want to cling on to elderly family members so long. The quality of life is absurd. I see elderly people coming in and out of the hospital bed ridden, can barely eat, with bed sores that get infected from lying down so long and no one there to turn them over or get them moving, altered mental status, and basically just vegetables. But when they code a few times, the family can't make the decision to let them go. I know its hard and they love them, but we all have to go sometime. It comes down to either just living or quality of life. Please believe, when I can't get up out of bed by myself, clean or wipe my butt, or feed myself then just let me go. I thinks its selfish of people to keep there loved ones like that.
    On the illegals, yes there is a problem. But at the end of the day they still aren't the biggest burden. If we get rid of them, then get ready for inflation to be sky high. These people work for pennies on the dollar and work hard. I don't know many true americans willing to do the job these illegals do for the money they make, the conditions they work under, as well with no benefits. They are really not the problem. The problem is that, we have become a society of "only me" and that's it. If it doesn't meet you at your door you could care less. OBAMA 2012!!

    November 16, 2010 at 19:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hunsaker

      What a line of crap! In 2010 NO ONE works for pennies on the dollar. Illegals ARE A HUGE burden on every system in this country! There are Americans who won't work and others who don't know how to work, but most will certainly do this work you and you liberal friend claim we will not do – Get real, liberal. You also are suggesting we terminate our elderly because they are sick – typical Demoncrat. Obambam is toast in 2012 along with the rest of your liberal friends.........

      November 16, 2010 at 20:38 | Report abuse |
    • Austinite

      Hunsaker – get a grip. "NO ONE works for pennies on the dollar. Illegals ARE A HUGE burden on every system in this country!" ?? You clearly live in a bubble and let Glenn Beck Lou Dobbs do your thinking for you. Illegals account for less than you think. And just because someone doesn't put all the blame in the world on illegals, doesn't mean he/she supports illegal immigration. Go ahead and get fat on your couch and then whine and complain about the medical system and illegals after you have a heart attack. Typical twit.

      November 16, 2010 at 21:14 | Report abuse |
  13. r u serious?

    These adverse events arent all treatment mistakes...read the fine print of the study..."excessive bleeding after surgery" I work orthopedic surgery...do you have ANY idea how many hip fractures, replacements, knee replacements are coded as having "excessive bleeding after surgery" and some also require transfusion. Do you know how many life threatening illnesses, postop management protocols, etc require PRECISE measurement of urine output via catheter placement. Better yet, do you know how many elderly enter the hospital WITH a Urinary tract infection that gets diagnosed here when their catherter is placed and then gets coded as a "adverse event"
    These are routine and prejudicated complications related to the injury/ elective surgery/ illness and are now simply included in a more stringent inpatient monitoring system for medicare that is actually designed for one purpose: to further the Obama agenda of making Electronic Medical Records mandatory. More perceived errors = more perceived financial loss and more public outcry = Justification in the near future to raise your taxes so we can pay billions and billions to watch the baby boomers slowly die...more efficiently with EMR. We are all puppets. Just keep dancing.

    November 16, 2010 at 19:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. dawn

    John, you are dead wrong (no pun intended). The issue is with the lack of healthcare reform means less reimbursement for illnesses which means less nurses and higher patient care loads. I know because I'm a nurse. Sure the HC insurance companies are making a butt load because its a monopoly

    November 16, 2010 at 19:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Km B

    Hospitals kill 15000 people a month and I gotta get probed to get on an airplane. Interesting world.

    November 16, 2010 at 19:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Spike5

      Good point. We spend all our money worrying about low risk possibilities and not on high probability events occurring every day. 15,000 people die unnecessarily each month in hospitals but our prime concern is that an airplane might blow up.

      The odds of having something unfortunate happening to you or your family in a hospital setting is FAR greater than anything a terrorist could do.

      November 16, 2010 at 20:22 | Report abuse |
  16. dawn

    KmB, saidly you are correct. There have been several studies that indicate if the HC industry would/SHOULD mirror themselves like the aviation world, errors would be decreased and/or eliminated

    November 16, 2010 at 20:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Haitian

    Can you cry baby, fat ,ungrateful Americans please send US your vaccines, cipro and any unwanted medications to HAITI...................................THANK YOU .....THANK YOU.....You guys are sooooooooooooooooooooo LUCKY to have clean water....sorry if I was insulting but my neighbor died of Cholera this morning....How are things up there? has brett favre retired yet?

    November 16, 2010 at 20:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Ed

    Beware of catheters. I caught a MRSA infection from a catheter inserted in a Urologists office. The result of the infection was a total of three weeks in the hospital, two surgeries on my infected knee, two weeks in a nursing home for physical rehabilitation and twelve weeks of intravenous antibiotics. I almost died from the infection and my recovery has taken months.

    November 16, 2010 at 20:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Haitian

    Hospital? our hospital is gone...it is now a tent...Thanks DR. SANJAY GUPTA....seriously THANK YOU.....
    also thanks SEAN PENN..........I have to go and take care of my mom.......oh and I am only 17........I am thankful for every day....

    November 16, 2010 at 20:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. huey1

    This article almost hit home with my family. My adult daughter when in to the hospital for surgery to remove her appendix. While in the hospital, she contracted something called "C Dif". I'm no sure of the spelling but what we did learn, it turned a routine thing in to a stay in the intensive care ward for about 3 weeks, and had compromised her defense system. I learned that this C Dif is prevalent in hospitals and it is not an uncommon thing to catch while in the hospital. Now, every time she gets a sore throat or such, she ends up in the hospital.

    November 16, 2010 at 20:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Wandering Bear

      Make a stand .....don't go to the hospital......case closed...problem solved....this is not China Don't go to the hospital....
      I have a remedy that cures everything......

      November 16, 2010 at 20:19 | Report abuse |
    • vonh

      Clostridium difficile is an opportunistic infection that most frequently is the result of treatment with oral antibiotics. The antibiotics kill all the bacteria that normally line your digestive tract, leaving it susceptible to colonization by unfriendly bacteria. Yet another reason why antibiotics should only be given/taken as a last resort. Remember, you as a patient also have to educate yourself if you don't want to become a statistic.

      November 16, 2010 at 20:56 | Report abuse |
    • huey1

      I would like to have her go somewhere else but she is with Kaiser thru her employer and....well anyone that has Kaiser knows the rest of this. Thanks for the comments.

      November 17, 2010 at 00:28 | Report abuse |
    • resMD

      Maybe you shouldn't have taken your daughter to the hospital and she'd have perforated her appendicitis with much worse sequelae. Oh and by the way, clostridium difficile is now not just found in hospitals and is found in immunocompetent people in the community. Try suing GE the next time your light bulb burns out, sometimes sh*t happens.

      November 17, 2010 at 03:37 | Report abuse |
  21. Elizardbeth Crowin Big Dog Medical gossip spreader

    ******************************************BREAKING NEWS***********************************************************
    *********************************************************************************THIS JUST IN*************************************
    *******************HOSPITALS KILL 150,000 PEOPLE A MONTH********************************************8
    ***************************************************************************MORE TO COME LATER*********************

    November 16, 2010 at 20:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Not exactly how it is presented

    I'm a hospital-based physician, who is not perfect–I make mistakes. BUT, the article is equating adverse outcomes with mistakes. They're not the same. If you leave an IV in somebody for a month...it's eventually going to get infected. Was this an adverse outcome? Yes. Was it a mistake? No...how else can I give that patient the necessary medications? If you perform surgery on a very ill patient who may die without it...they may bleed a lot. If this happens, was this an adverse outcome? Yes. Was it a mistake? No. Regarding the "more oversight" solution...think about this. My hospital floated the concept of requiring Pharmacist review for all medication administration to prevent dosage errors. So with the current system, you come to the ER with a broken leg. Nurse starts IV, doctor orders pain medicine and you get the medicine within a few minutes. With the new system, the order must be faxed to a pharmacist (who at night isn't even on site in the hospital). The pharmacist (at some point) reviews the order and authorizes the medication (via fax again). This process can take up to 30 minutes. If you're the one in pain...which system do you want? More oversight does not necessarily improve patient care.

    November 16, 2010 at 20:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • S. M. O'Connor

      Hey Doc; it is a mistake AND an adverse event to leave an IV in for a continous month., unless you're working with a cutdown or a port.... CHANGE THE SITE!! No harm no foul.

      November 16, 2010 at 21:01 | Report abuse |
    • JJ

      Where exactly are you a doctor? I work at 6 hospitals, and that is the exact process we all follow. The order is written, we fax it to the pharmacist, the pharmacy adds the medication to the patient's medication profile. No medication is given without the pharmacist seeing it first, with a only a FEW exceptions for emergent medications, like SL Nitro tablets. If we need something really quick that isn't available in override, we simply call the pharmacy and ask them to put it in for us stat, or we can it to them as a stat order. The pharmacy is available during the day on site at the hospital, and for large hospitals they are available 24/7 on site.

      November 16, 2010 at 21:51 | Report abuse |
    • TS

      Ask what the RN to Patient ratio is in the hospital that you are going to. The higher the ratio, the more mistakes, and the higher the mortality and morbidity.

      November 16, 2010 at 22:56 | Report abuse |
    • steve

      I wish they could see what really happens. A fine response to another fear mongering article and an unknowledgeable public

      November 17, 2010 at 07:42 | Report abuse |
  23. aldebaran

    my dad picked up mersa–the superbug–at a crappy hospital–the bathroom next to his room was filled with unemptied bedpans–when i complained they told me to stay out of that bathroom and use another one! the place was a disaster. my dad had had a stroke and couldn't talk much but he was able to understand what he heard–i had a nurse screaming at me right over his bed–it was a nightmare. they didn't have the decency to say could you step outside and then tell me what they were upset about. my dad was a healthy 78 year old man who had candida but in a short time he had mersa and died! i have no use for nurses–they are the worst! the director of this hospital was a creep–wanted me to take my dad home when he was actively dying just so he wouldn't die in their crappy hospital. it was a nightmare. what ever you do–stay away from lousy hospitals and even worse–nursing homes! this happened in florida–what a crappy state that is!!

    November 16, 2010 at 20:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lindsay

      Sorry to hear about your loss. There are actually a lot of wonderful nurses out there. Sounds like you and your father were the victims of a really unfortunate situation. My heart goes out to you.

      November 16, 2010 at 20:23 | Report abuse |
    • Wandering Bear

      you said it....this is not China...you don't have to go to the hospital or a nursing home........NOBODY is FORCING you to go...DON'T GO......STAY AWAY....I am Chief Wandering Bear...I specialize in Native American natural holistic healing ....I can CURE EVERYTHING .....just like my ancestors did....TRUST ME...

      November 16, 2010 at 20:25 | Report abuse |
    • greatnurse

      Sorry you had such a rough time, but the truth is older people with health problems have a compromised immune system. MRSA is on shopping carts, door handles, etc. It is everywhere. You must have a healthy immune system to fight off the microscopic world...and when you do not...it is game over.

      November 16, 2010 at 23:07 | Report abuse |
  24. Lindsay

    As a nurse who works in a hospital, I can fairly say that many errors occur because we are overworked and understaffed. The same goes for medical residents. Of course, this is an issue we are all familiar with. I remember making a pretty big medication error at the end of a very, very long day during my first year, and it's a horrible feeling to have unintentionally harmed someone. Luckily, the patient turned out to be okay. Thankfully, hospitals are improving measures to prevent accidents and pharma companies are doing a better job labeling their meds. Also, as the article states, it's very important that the patient and family knows their current medications and dosages.

    November 16, 2010 at 20:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Judith Ruzicska

    Where are your editors!!!! Your first sentence again contains a glaring error!!! One in every 7 patients . . . IS not are harmed. Your editors don't remember subject verb agreement rules which every high school student learns. This is the second time this week and i'm not even looking hard. Send your writers to some refresher courses please.

    November 16, 2010 at 20:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Actually...

      Judith, "one" is singular. The subject is singluar, therefore the verb is singular. They did that correctly.

      Having said that, however, notice here:

      "1. Bring someone with you to the hospital

      Having an advocate at your side who can help insure that your concerns won't go unheard during a hospital stay."

      "Insure" should be used as in "insurance" ("I need to insure my car"), which is not what they meant here. They should have used "ensure".

      I agree with you about their editors. They stink.

      As to the actual topic in the article, be as informed as possible about your illness, or that of your loved one. Doctors and nurses are all being second guessed by big business insurance companies who would rather you die, thus decreasing the surplus population.

      November 17, 2010 at 08:48 | Report abuse |
  26. chessyjames

    "Some patient right groups are calling these findings alarming." What!? So which patient-rights groups AREN'T calling them alarming? 15,000 deaths per month and 180,000 deaths caused by mistakes aren't enough for some? I wonder what would be the acceptible number of deaths to reach the "alarming" threshhold?

    November 16, 2010 at 20:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bubba

      Please read the article carefully. These adverse events "contributed" to the deaths; they were NOT the sole cause of death.

      Say Aunt Sally landed in the hospital with a large pulmonary thromboembolism and coded in the ER and was on the ventilator for 2 weeks essentially in a vegetative state. She is on heparin for anticoagulation, but ends up dropping her hemoglobin and required a blood transfusion because of gastritis (she was, however, on a prophylactic proton pump inhibitor and her PTT was within therapeutic range). One could consider the GI bleed an adverse event from the heparin that was used to thin her blood, but without which she would have likely died within a day or so of admission. If Aunt Sally is unable to survive this hospitalization, the GI bleed would be considered an adverse hospital event, despite the fact that she received standard of care. As a wise man (or a bumper sticker) once said: Sh*t happens.

      November 16, 2010 at 21:41 | Report abuse |
  27. Lance

    My friend Mitch was a triathlete and probably was in the best shape of his life....Mitch was an IRONMAN 3 times over..He contracted MRSA and in less than a week he lost his leg and then his life.He contracted it in a lake not a hospital.....MRSA attacks and does care how old or how fit you are...or your location but hospitals are like bars for singles....There were other deaths that year in nearby lakes .some from MRSA other AMOEBAS....the year was 1998...If Mitch contracted MRSA today he may still be alive because of the newer antibiotics................................not sure about the amoebas-related infections

    November 16, 2010 at 20:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SwimBikeRUN

      this happened in central florida near orlando...I remember that .....they cancelled some races that year. It scared a lot of people because how could you be so healthy one minute and the next week you are gone? I did not know the guy I am sorry that happened...I think he was a married personal trainer too with 2 kids? some kids got sick too...

      November 17, 2010 at 10:23 | Report abuse |
  28. DeOrIgInAlThInKa'

    yup, if you feel like dying, the best place you can go is a hospital

    November 16, 2010 at 20:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Just Number

    There are around 2,400,000 deaths per year in the United States. If 180,000 deaths are caused by medical error, this would make it a more common cause of death than:

    Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 135,952
    Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 127,924
    Accidents (unintentional injuries): 123,706
    Alzheimer's disease: 74,632
    Diabetes: 71,382
    Influenza and Pneumonia: 52,717
    Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 46,448
    Septicemia: 34,828

    Believe what you will....

    November 16, 2010 at 20:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • resMD

      Just Number,
      What you cited is like saying "more deaths are caused by cardiac arrest each year than any other cause". When you take a category that encompasses all of the other categories which you cite, and then claim it is bigger than any of it's own subcategories, you would be by definition correct. Did it occur to you that witholding Coumadin perioperatively which causes a stroke would go under both a CVA and a hospital error. Or that Septicemia (which isn't even a word) caused by a central line in an ICU also would fall under the category of hospital error. You argument holds no water because your "hospital error" category by definition contains, in part, a substantial segment from every other category.

      November 17, 2010 at 03:41 | Report abuse |
  30. becca

    there's got to be more accountability so these medical mistakes don't keep happening.

    November 16, 2010 at 20:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Wandering Bear

    The solution is easy just don't go to hospitals ....ever.No one is forcing you to go so don't go..This is not CHINA..SIMPLY BOYCOTT WESTERN MEDICINE.CASE CLOSED.Make a stand people!!! Boycott all traditional medicine and start Native American Tribal Holistic healing..........COME ON we will show them...we DON'T need their HOSPITALS,MEDICATIONS ,DOCTORS,NURSES or any of THEIR WESTERN MEDICINAL PRACTICES.......GO NATIVE AMERICAN HOLISTIC HEALING!!!.

    November 16, 2010 at 20:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • brucemo

      Native American life expectancy is very low.

      November 17, 2010 at 01:31 | Report abuse |
    • resMD

      They must just have way more hospital errors than everyone else...... yep..... that's gotta be it.

      November 17, 2010 at 03:42 | Report abuse |
  32. Dorothy Roy

    ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WUSA) - A woman who was waiting for a liver transplant at Georgetown Hospital never got the chance because the hospital apparently couldn't reach her, even though the women was a patient at Georgetown at that time.

    This is all according to her sister, Dorothy Roy, who is now suing Georgetown University Hospital for medical negligence.

    "This is one year from the day she died," Dorothy Roy said as she held a picture of her beloved sister Donna Roy who died Thanksgiving day 2008. She was 59. She had non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver and had been on the transplant list at Georgetown University Hospital.

    "She was desperate for a liver," said Roy.

    In November of 2008, a liver match was apparently found, and a Georgetown employee tried to reach Donna at her Alexandria home... twice.

    Message number 13 on the answering machine: "Hello this is Martha calling from Georgetown transplant. I'm calling to offer you a liver. A liver offer..."

    That would've been great news, except Donna didn't get it, because she was a patient at Georgetown at that time. Dorothy found the messages on her sister's answering machine too late.

    Roy said, "I returned Martha's call and she said, 'Oh no! Someone else got the liver!'"

    Dorothy says she spent every night at the hospital with her sister.

    "It's just unreal. She had been seeing dozens of doctors at Georgetown. Everyone knew she was at Georgetown. How could they have called her at home?

    "I was the emergency point of contact. They had my cell phone and my home number. They did not call."

    Georgetown Hospital declined to comment on the case because it's in litigation. 9NEWS NOW called the number Martha left and confirmed it reaches the on-call coordinator for the Georgetown Transplant Institute.

    Dorothy hopes someone who needed the liver more than her sister got the liver but says she's never been given any answers.

    "I want to know why Donna didn't get the liver, and what happen to it."

    The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) manages the nation's organ transplant system under contract with the federal government. A computer system is used to match organs to patients. Before a match is approved, the patient's physician has to OK it. It's not known if Donna Roy was the first on the list for this liver, but a UNOS spokesperson says generally a patient would not be called about a match unless that person was first on the list.

    A Georgetown spokesperson said late Friday afternoon that it's too early to comment on the case because they were just served the lawsuit yesterday.

    Roy is seeking $5 million from Georgetown. She says she mostly wants the hospital to change is procedures so another person doesn't go through this. Roy says if she gets any money, she'll send it to Haiti, because that's what here sister would do.

    Written by Peggy Fox
    9NEWS NOW & wusa9.com

    November 16, 2010 at 21:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hippa

      Hippa protects the Miss Roy's privacy and it should.The public at this time only hears ONE SIDE OF THE STORY.This is never really fair journalism .The hospital is at a huge disadvantage because the patient can run her mouth making claims to any one who will listen but the HOSPITAL cannot say a word because it will violate HIPPA and they will be in more trouble.The real truth is we will not know the hospital's side of the story until it goes to court.The hospital may have made a procedural mistake but by the time it gets settled public opinion has them guilty.The real question is do you honestly think the hospital really wants to HURT people.Do you honestly think the doctors, nurses and all the healthcare providers at that hospital honestly wanted her to die?

      Healthcare providers are human which leads to mistakes.The CQI or CONTINOUS quality improvement programs will be set up at every single healthcare system across the nation by 2014....Think about your job are you 100 percent PERFECT ALL DAY which can be up to 20 hours without a proper meal EVERY DAY.A nurse can put in an i.v. line and the patient can go into anaphylatic shock with no rhyme or reason.

      November 16, 2010 at 21:32 | Report abuse |
    • Yougotwhatyouwanted

      So you think the hospital is at fault, because neither she nor her family checked her voice mail knowing she was waiting on a call. More unrealistic expectations from the public. Hey, I know. Lets sue the hospital. We can blame them for our mistake and make money as well. And you people wonder why healthcare costs keep going up.

      November 16, 2010 at 23:29 | Report abuse |
    • dir

      Why would you think anyone was expecting a call to the patient at home? The patient was in a semi-coma and had no idea where she was so how could she check her home messages. She had only been on the transplant list for a couple days but had been at GUH for over 2 weeks. No one was ever told to expect them to call her at home - the transplant team knew she was in GUH - they saw her several times a day. Her emergency point of contact stayed with her at GUH day and night - her home telephone number was transferred to her cell phone. When GUH could not reach the patient, why didn't they call the emergency point of contact? She could have told them to come up to the 5th floor and get the patient. It was a total screw up by Georgetown University Hospital. God have mercy on anyone going there.

      November 17, 2010 at 18:21 | Report abuse |
    • Dorothy

      Excuse mel, the patient cannot run her mouth, she is DEAD because Georgetown University Hospital did not care enough to call her emergency point of contact, who had her home phone transferred to her cell phone, and stayed at GUH every night so she could be there in case they found a liver. Think of my DEAD sister when you are eating your Thanksgiving dinner because she died on Thanksgiving Day. You ask "Do you honestly think the doctors, nurses and all the healthcare providers at that hospital honestly wanted her to die?" Let me ask you, Do you honestly think drunk drivers (yes, they are usually professional/educated people) want to kill innocent people – I doubt it, but they are still held accountable! I pray something this horrible never happens to you or your family.

      November 17, 2010 at 18:47 | Report abuse |
  33. aintnocowboy

    POOF! OK, it is now a perfect world. Medical professionals no longer make mistakes. Too bad about all those out of work personal injury lawyers. Do I sound jaded?

    November 16, 2010 at 21:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Gabor47

    Just Number wrote (correctly):"There are around 2,400,000 deaths per year in the United States. If 180,000 deaths are caused by medical error, this would make it a more common cause of death than:", followed by a list. He forgot to add to that the 400,000 deaths "caused" by smoking.

    This is more sad than amusing. By now we got to the point that nobody seems to die naturally. As if people would live forever, if they weren't harmed by this, that or that. Worse yet, more and more deaths are directly BLAMED on something or somebody. I will never forget that when I was a surgical resident, I witnessed in the emergency room, when the "code crew" tried to resuscitate a 91 years old man with terminal cancer (he was dead on arrival). To my question as for "why?", the answer was:"because if we didn't, the family may sue us that we didn't try everything to save great grandpa".

    It is a sick system. I am a physician, and as years passed, less and less decision I can make based on my own knowledge, judgment and experience. Now, more and more entities can stick their nose into medical issues, which they have no idea about, no experience, no valid knowledge. They think they do, but they don't. For example (and it happened quite recently):
    I am operating on people for 31 years. During the first 5-6 years of my practice I figured out a combination of "things" I have done, which prevented postoperative infections on my patients for at least the last 25 years. That is a heck of a track record and I am very proud of it. I just moved to a new area, started practicing in a new hospital. After the very first surgical procedure I was informed, that "it is against the standard of care to use......" and they named two of the things I am using for decades which I believe were part of the reason I have such a track record. "But I am using these for decades....." I started to reason, which was interrupted with a "yeah....yeah....we know....you are the hero, but you still must do the way we tell you how to do it". Hearing this I felt sick in my stomach. Literally. And I can assure everybody out there that this is going to get worse, if bureaucrats, insurance companies, lawyers, the government can force the doctors how to practice medicine.

    November 16, 2010 at 21:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ituri

      Gabor, its all well and good to imagine that ideal care could be given by doctors without interferance by other groups, but the simple fact is that ABUSES and negligence were happening at amazing rates, which got the government and lawyers and everyone and their berother involved in the first place. This happened in defense of your patients from doctors who like to make it up as they go along. Unfortunately, jet pilots do NOT get to Tom Cruise it up any longer, and doctors do not get to "go it alone" either.

      Now, if we had an efficient medical system, this would not hurt you. As we don't, I doubt you should be blaming the few protections patients have for the problems.

      For example, that 91 year old with terminal cancer? How did you know he couldn't live another 2 years? Plenty of people these days are told they are terminal... and its NOT TRUE, but the doctors say it so they are "legally covered." Then we assume that 91 year old doesn't have a year left because "he's terminal." Its a self-fulfilling cycle. The reason you try to revive him is because he's HUMAN, and we value LIFE.

      I read of a doctor who had been using WOODEN handled tools to conduct surgury. When asked why, he said "I've been doing this for decades, don't tell me how to conduct a surgury." Well, here in the real world you can't disinfect wood. The hospital, in other words, probably has good reasons why you couldn't do those things.

      November 16, 2010 at 21:27 | Report abuse |
    • bill hensen

      Yeah, I am a doctor too. Agree with everything you say. We, the most highly trainied people in the hospital are being told how to practice medicine by everyone. Hospital administators, politicians, insurance companies, etc, all interested in only their own profit and their next promotion. These folks come in at 9 AM, go home at 4 and sit in politically correct bull sessions throughout the day. Anyone who raises the voice of reason isimmediately labled as a "troublemaker" or worse.

      Oh, and by the way, the "80 hour work week" set up by the governement for training residents is ROUTINELY VIOLATED, with threats of dismissal from their programs, anonymous reports of violations are not allowed. Reports go to administrators who are "buddies" with all the training program directors and immediately " the trainee" is found to have "unsatisfactory" reviews. Seen it happen. One learns real quick, keep your mouth shut, agree with whatever the "policy" is and to "stay under the radar" at all costs.

      Great system isnt it? Can't wait to retire and get out of this insanity.

      November 16, 2010 at 21:30 | Report abuse |
    • Old Fool

      You are right in that it is a sick system. But it has to start with the people. Juries are much kinder to hospitals and doctors than you may think. A great number of medical greivances I have wtnessed, and I am in a position to see many, never see the light of day. The system needs people in it. And great leadership. We count on our doctors to be the best of the best, every time. We have no choice but to trust the system, even when we know it is far from perfect. Medicine needs money, from the time a bright young person decides to pursue a career in medicine until the day he dies we should assure the doc freedom from school loans and medievel work schedules. We should free them from the economics of medicine and make it worth their while to spend a life in medicine. And the people should be served.

      November 16, 2010 at 22:23 | Report abuse |
    • Yougotwhatyouwanted

      Gabor, don't waste your time trying to explain the realities of healthcare. There are too many Ituri's out there. They think we should be able to save everyone and it should cost next to nothing. There should never be a bad outcome and when there is. They want someone to blame and someone to pay.

      November 16, 2010 at 23:35 | Report abuse |
    • eneli

      Yougotwhatyouwanted – you are a bitter health care provider who has lost his/her job because of your total lack of compassion and intelligence.

      November 17, 2010 at 18:51 | Report abuse |
    • Yoreneli

      I found bumper sticker that reads "Hospitals kill more people that cigarettes"

      November 19, 2010 at 23:29 | Report abuse |
  35. Larry

    Law XIII of the House of God states: The delivery of medical care is to do as much nothing as possible.

    November 16, 2010 at 21:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Ituri

    What I find alarming, besides these alarming stats, is that people in the US still do NOT understand that insurance is NOT health care. Health care is not insurance, insurance is not health care. Can it be said any other way? We need better health CARE, not more insurance.

    Funny how thats what we should have gotten out of this health care battle the past 3 years. Thanks a lot, party of "no."

    November 16, 2010 at 21:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Bubba

    Folks, be careful with the wording in this article. It states that these adverse hospital events "contributed" to the deaths, not that they were the sole cause of death.

    November 16, 2010 at 21:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. dragon_hunter21

    Okay, sure. Hospital care could be bad. However, not going to the hospital can be much, much worse. of a lot worse. If your finger is bleeding, get a band-aid. If your leg is gushing blood, call an ambulance.

    November 16, 2010 at 21:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. economic meiosis

    Reading all of your comments confirms my preconceived belief that the "lay person" is more than just lay...rather grossly misinformed and maliciously ignorant. I will be quick and to the point. The demands of the LAY PUBLIC directly drive medical mistakes. Put as simply as possible. The public takes little to no ownership in their own health. They want the best health care for little to no cost. They want to see a doctor without delay or wait. They want the problem (often exacerbated by their life's choices) fixed ASAP with a pill or a procedure as to insure as little interference with their life as possible. Coupled to this is the federal government which wants to pay less and less for medical services rendered and makes it more difficult for costly procedures to be performed. The direct result is a physician must see more patients, in less time, to maintain the same salary. To top it all off there are almost 10 lawyers for every physician waiting to file litigation for any adverse event. This is what you all wanted....well you got it. OBAMA CARE. If you think it is bad now, just wait until you see the full effects of it. You can complain to your nurse practitioner or physician assistant because your doctor won't have time to see you. Keep believing the propaganda.

    November 16, 2010 at 21:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hippa

      You raise some good points and only time will tell on Obamacare if it closes the doughnut hole NEXT year and can get EVERY PATIENT electronic chart in universal code I think it will help.
      But what I see in patient's is unrealistic expectations.I am not in cosmetic surgery but it is a good visual.Patients come in to cosmetic surgery that are just not physically possible and the risk for complications is great.So patient's expectation's are not REALISTIC! Take a look at hollyweird and you can tell who had bad cosmetic surgery.

      TakE a look at type 2 diabetes which is becoming an epidemic in AMERICA...Not mexico , canada , south america ....UNITED STATES.....When people get the diagnosis of Type2 diabetes they SHOULD change their lifestyle and become cognizant of the disease and it has become easier with the newer testing devices but for some reason most of the patients don't care and expect a pill to cure all..Soon they are on a dozen pills with each one treating one aspect of the disease and morbidly obese....well the prognosis is not GOOD..
      It sometimes takes the loss of a kidney,eyesight or a limb to really understand the pathology of the disease and the disease has progReSsed well and IT WINS...PATIENT /Doctor LOSE...case closed.

      personal responsibility....PEACE OUT!

      November 16, 2010 at 22:06 | Report abuse |
  40. Marla Dean

    This is exactly why I had my babies at home. A hospital is no place for a healthy mother and baby. I had to watch helplessly as hospital staffs totally bungled the births of tow of my grandchildren. One daughter even contracted sepsis in the hospital. I will never trust them.

    November 16, 2010 at 21:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Marla Dean

    This is exactly why I had my babies at home. A hospital is no place for a healthy mother and baby. I had to watch helplessly as hospital staffs totally bungled the births of two of my grandchildren. One daughter even contracted sepsis in the hospital. I will never trust them.

    November 16, 2010 at 21:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Trent

      Most women in the 1920s had their babies at home.

      November 16, 2010 at 21:45 | Report abuse |
    • vonh

      Infant mortality rates per 1000 live births
      1920 – 73.6
      2003 – 5.2
      "Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory." -Franklin Pierce Adams

      November 17, 2010 at 07:39 | Report abuse |
  42. SweetLorraine

    A few months ago I was transferred from ER to a bed to be ready for a surgical procedure the next morning. This was in Houston. For the second time in as many experiences there, I was not offered a gown to sleep in ............ slept in my clothes. The floor organizer........ don't know if she was a nurse or bookkeeper, insisted I take some pills, when I was there because I couldn't swallow. I never took the pills, but I was charged for them. There' s not a feeling of safety or true caring anymore. It's just a job that follows 6 months of training in one of those quickie schools that substitute for a college.

    November 16, 2010 at 21:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Trent

      I'm sure you were charged for the hospital gown you never slept in either.

      November 16, 2010 at 21:48 | Report abuse |
    • Elena

      The woman who brought you medication was a nurse or nursing assistant, no one else is allowed to dispense medications, you're being overly dramatic. You get charged electronically for medications, when they pull them out of the machine to give them to you. They can't exactly put a pill back later because you didn't want to swallow it. Would you want a pill that someone else had handled and then put back? No. Furthermore did you TELL your nurse that you couldn't swallow for some reason, because then the physician would have been contacted for an alternative order. Take responsibility for yourself.

      November 16, 2010 at 23:42 | Report abuse |
  43. Ed Becker

    It's the hospitals that are out of control. WHether it is insurance companies or the government, the charges and poor service is not worth the absurd charges. There is no cost control and poor quality control. The problem is the hospitals, not the people paying the bills!

    November 16, 2010 at 21:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • steve

      Not really. Everyone goes to work for money. Doctors, nurses and hospitals shouldn't be excluded from that. But, they're the only ones that are FORCED by the government to provide services to people who can not, and will not pay. So the people with insurance are forced to make up the difference. I'd like to see a statistic on the actual profit margin of hospitals. I bet it's not as high as people like to think. I bet a lot of them are in the red most of the time. Are fees astronomical? Absolutely. But they have to pay for all the free stuff they give away. I work at a hospital in a nice area and we are CONSTANTLY admitting people who need medical and will never pay. We have to. I asked one of our docs how much he can expect from one of these. His response? "I can bill MediCal, and they'll probably send a check for $100. But the patient can stay for a month and I have to see them every day." That's pretty cheap medical care when you break it down.

      November 17, 2010 at 07:54 | Report abuse |
  44. ogalsnorf

    Yes there are errors. People are only human, too many patients, too few staff, too long of shifts, equation for diaster.

    November 16, 2010 at 21:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • chacomom

      Having been a healthcare professional for over 35 years, I can tell you that things are getting worse for patients and health care providers. I would like anyone who complains about incompetence to spend a shift doing the things that are required in the job. Multitasking, no breaks, abusive patients and families,endless phonme calls from family, physicians, pharmacy, food service.
      I bet that person would last less than half a shift.

      November 17, 2010 at 08:50 | Report abuse |
  45. tekbit

    I'd rather have a Bottle in Front of Me, than a Frontal Lobotomy.

    November 16, 2010 at 21:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. economic meiosis

    Ed, your comments reveal your knowlege. Do some of your own due diligence before you post, you might learn something. Hospitals generally run at a 3 – 4 percent profit margin. Find me any business that runs that efficently on such a low profit margin. YOU WON'T. When you deal with a billion dollar business, profits in the tens to hundred million sound high but are quite the contrary.

    ..."Every time I argue with someone who knows everything....I lose. Every time I argue with someone who can admit what they don't know....I win."

    Take what think as fact and learn about it. Read both sides. Try to understand it. You will surprise yourself. But Ed, your comments couldn't be further from the truth.

    November 16, 2010 at 22:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JEM

      The insurance industry also runs on a very low profit margin; made far lower due to the stock market falling over the past few years. The insurance companies are struggling to survive in a bad world just like everything else.

      November 16, 2010 at 23:23 | Report abuse |
  47. economic meiosis

    Ed, I will help you learn something before you post. Read this article about hospital profits. For the last 5 years, it has averaged 3.1%. Compared to Transportation industry of 88%.


    November 16, 2010 at 22:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Dr. John

    For every article CNN runs about the failings of healthcare in the United States, there are at least hundred untold success stories. People from all over the world come the US for healthcare, most illegally, but plenty of others pay to travel here.
    Lets see a couple articles about:
    1. Advances in heart failure treatment
    2. Advances in kidney transplants
    3. Treatment of Asthma in the Inner city
    4. Acute myocardial infarction survival
    5. Acute ischemic stroke treatment
    6. ARDS ventilation
    7. Alzheimer's treatment
    8. Sickle Cell disease
    wonderful stories of true advances in care by AMERICAN doctors, scientists and healthcare workers. Which are published free of charge and the rest of the world follows in suite.

    November 16, 2010 at 22:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Yor

      Can you imagine how many people died as guinea pigs for these advancements?

      November 17, 2010 at 18:59 | Report abuse |
  49. Hippa

    one last thing can every one here say they are 100 percent perfect at their jobs...do you go into work whatever you do and WANT to HURT another HUMAN BEING? for the record I think Michael Jackson's doctor should have lost his license long ago......Propofol should NEVER EVER be given to a patient for insomnia....That is true malpractice right there ....MJ's doctor was not thinking first do no harm...PEACE OUT

    November 16, 2010 at 22:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Yor Eneli

      Sounds like you are an expert on everything ... curious as to why you think Michael Jackson's case was malpractice, were you there? Or, was MJ another one of those dead patients who ran their mouth?

      November 16, 2010 at 23:08 | Report abuse |
    • dj moore

      hope none of you have a loved one in jail. they will not get the medical care at all maybe a tylenol .nothing you can do to the system for the medical neglect at all . i know lost my son and they plain let him die medica FACT . !!!TOOK ME WEEKIS TO GET THEM TO TAKE HIM TO HOSPITAL . WHEN FINALLY GOT HIM THERE HE ONLY LIVED 44 HOURS . I COULD WRITE A BOOK ON THE MEDICAL SYSTEM IT KILLED MY MOTHER ECT .

      November 17, 2010 at 02:42 | Report abuse |
  50. Drake LaDue

    Joe right on!!!

    Kelly, what Joe was implying about "athletic-kids", if you have ever coached a children's sporting event then you would know. Parents, some and the number grows each year I coach, often think and treat their kids like they are or will be the next MJ or Bret Favre etc... Very often you see them get really upset and can often push too hard treating them like inanimate objects. They drag kids from one event to the next with out letting them be kids. We often wonder why kids grow up so quick today. It's our fault as parents.
    Any way I digress.

    Yes insurance companies suck and so can treatment in a hospital. But I work with folks at the mid level ranks of facilities and I can tell you from personal experience, these people care and they care a lot. Just over worked and under paid with no real end in sight. People live longer each year, govt and insurance companies are cutting payment percentages, hospitals are getting less funding but demand is growing, by 2025 (I think) it's estimated we will have a severe shortage of your GP MDs. So this means more visits to the ER and once again increasing the economic burden exponentially on a crumbling system which will eventually break us economically, physically, emotionally and mentally.

    Doing nothing doesn't work, allowing private companies determine what and who gets what is definitely wrong, the current and past administrations sorta get it but wayyyyy toooo BIG of a problem to handle and potentially career ending.

    SO what do we all do next? Sit here snipping at each other or maybe we should come up with a plan which levels the medical playing field, everyone is compensated, patients get equal and same treatment no matter race creed color economic status. In the end the patient is cured, there were no mistakes made outside of "ACTS of GOD", no one had to pay a penny out of pocket, we as a nation lifts this multi-billion dollar health debt from our shoulders.

    Have at it. Tough one to fix. NOT Really if we all payed just $50 bucks a year per person in our own family unit we would raise 15 billion a year, I don't know our actual debt and over all per person costs but I bet you 15 Billion would help get it moving in the right direction.

    November 16, 2010 at 22:22 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.