Patient Safety Day - July 25th, 2010

It's Your Money and Your Life: Patient Error is Out of Control!

CHICAGO, July 21 - Instead of declining, patient error and costs to correct resulting complications have tripled in recent years. An estimated 271,000 people died last year because of medical errors, including "wrong site" surgeries, inappropriately administered medications, and infections caused by unsterile conditions and unwashed caregiver hands. In 1999, the Institute of Medicine reported a much lower patient death rate from preventable medical error, between 44,000 to 98,000 each year. From an economic standpoint, this represents over $66 billion in consumer health care spending wasted.

Efforts by the medical community, government and insurers have failed to protect the public from these unnecessary harms and their extraordinary costs. Patient Safety Day reminds individuals that the time is ripe for Americans to proactively become their own health care advocates, taking the future into their own hands. How?...by demanding that prices for procedures be made public and that hospital rates of infection and medical error be reported in every state. Further, a national database should be established to give Americans access to provider cost and quality—information on radiation safety, treatment outcomes and hospital error rates, all which hold health care providers accountable for clinical quality, patient experience and costs.

Medical error must be prevented before it occurs. Due to the efforts of SAVE THE PATIENT, patient safety organizations and the Institute of Medicine, first-year medical residents, required to work 30-hour shifts, will have their hours reduced to 16 hours, improving patient safety. Americans should insist that a Consumer Health Protection provision be included in new health reform legislation to make special interest money and gifts to doctors, hospitals, nursing homes and legislators illegal.

By promoting positive, productive interactions between patients and medical professionals, and by encouraging individuals to know and implement their rights to ask questions, receive understandable answers and explore medical options, SAVE THE PATIENT is working diligently to assist the public in becoming better health care consumers. Visit www.savethepatient.org for more info.

SAVE THE PATIENT(SM) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the support and education of individuals on health care matters. Founded in 2001 to fulfill the need for a non-biased, non-commercial community based non-profit organization to educate, inform, and empower patients as they attempt to make sound health care decisions, SAVE THE PATIENT provides information and education through patient advocacy, community outreach, educational seminars and its signature tool: the Health Caring Card.




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