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Accountability For Preventable Medical Mistakes


Preventable medical mistakes are responsible for far too many deaths in America—the equivalent of four jumbo jets full of people die from medical errors every week. But the problem remains largely unreported, both inside hospitals and in the wider public sphere. Medical mistakes harm around 25% of all hospitalized patients in the U.S., and they also impact the economy, adding tens of billions of dollars in excess health care expenses. Unnecessary tests and procedures, which may not actually harm the patient, account for a lot of wasteful spending, particularly with Medicare patients.

Medicine is not like other professions; its workers can do everything right, and still, complications (leading to worse ailments, and deaths) remain unpreventable. Hospitals are increasingly run for profit, with very few publishing statistics on their performance; this makes it hard for patients to make informed decisions. But, medical professionals are taking notice; some are now promoting transparency around safety records and greater accountability for injuries and fatalities. One idea gaining ground is the creation of an internet database listing hospitals’ rates for infection, readmission, surgical complications, annual surgeries by type, patient satisfaction scores, etc; this would give patients much more information.

Some advocates for reform suggest using cameras in hospitals, to encourage the staff to stay on their toes—this idea is attractive, but it runs up against privacy issues. A hospital in Long Island, NY installed cameras a few years ago; the main benefit has been to handwashing compliance, which increased from 10% to 90%. Another hospital, in Pennsylvania, has given its patients access to their own doctors’ notes, in an effort to increase transparency. Steps taken by individual hospitals are encouraging, certainly—but wider reform is needed, probably via government action, to address the industry-wide problems with both safety and excess spending.

If you or someone you care for has suffered an injury as a result of negligence, you have options. Contact Mike Agruss Law, at 312-224-4695 for a free consultation. We are a Chicago injury law firm representing individuals and families who have suffered an injury or loss due to an accident. Mike Agruss Law, will handle your personal injury case quickly, will advise you every step of the way, and will not hesitate to go to trial for you. Lastly, Mike Agruss Law, does not get paid attorney’s fees unless we win your case. Our no-fee promise is that simple. Therefore, you have nothing to risk when you hire us–just the opportunity to seek justice.

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