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Welcome to Vegas Lawyer. This site is for people who were hurt in Nevada. Contact us for a free consultation. You may want to read the Las Vegas Personal Injury Law introduction on our home page. Also, you can get an overview of other claims like Wrongful Death, Auto Accidents, Slip & Fall, and Products Liability before you explore the Article below.

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Improving Hospital Performance

EFFORTS TO INCREASE PATIENT SAFETY AND IMPROVE HOSPITAL PERFORMANCE

Witnesses relate risk of fatal mistakes and successful efforts to improve hospital safety

June 11th, 2003 - WASHINGTON, D.C. – In an emotional hearing today focusing on increasing patient safety and improving hospital management practices, Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN), Chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, said the future of the nation’s health care system and many patients’ lives depend on hospitals implementing stringent quality control and accountability systems similar to other industries.

“While we can never achieve perfection, the good news is that we can do much better,” Senator Coleman said. “We can develop a system in which errors are prevented and their consequences minimized.”

Simple mistakes can often have fatal consequences in a hospital setting. In 1991 two reports in the New England Journal of Medicine found that medical mistakes might lead to the deaths of between 44,000 and 98,000 patients annually. Roxanne Goeltz, a Burnsville, Minnesota advocate for the patient awareness, testified about the impact of her 39 year old brother Michael Lange dying in 1999 from what she says was a medical mistake involving lack of attention.

“My little brother’s death opened my eyes to the fact that consumers need to be partners in our healthcare,” Goeltz testified. “I also realized that our healthcare workers are not infallible gods, and that we should not rely on them to be miracle workers. They are human just like me, they work in complex systems just like I do, and they need our help to do their job well and make our journeys as safe as possible.”

David Page, President and CEO of Fairview Health Services, also testified about a recent medical error that led to the tragic death of a two year old patient, in spite of the health care provider’s national reputation as a leader in patient safety improvement and its progress in reducing overall mistakes.

“Sometimes the system doesn’t work even at the best and most prestigious health care institutions,” Page said. “Paper records get lost or delayed or patients get the wrong drug or the wrong dose. The media is littered with heart-breaking examples of cases that harden our resolve to make systems work better.”

Several witnesses gave specific examples of innovative systems changes to track and reduce medical errors with the goal of making U.S. health care the safest, as well as the best, in the world. “A Fairview Southdale Hospital team created a new practice to ensure that a new hospitalized patient’s current, complete drug therapy is integrated accurately with in-hospital medication,” Page testified. “I’m pleased that this team has reduced medication errors in their hospital area by 84 percent.”

The subcommittee heard from health care experts on the important consequences of better management for health insurance affordability and worker retention and to retain consumer confidence in the system. Beginning with the 1999 Institutes of Medicine report Too Err is Human, industry leaders have made important advances in adapting modern quality practices to the healthcare sector and making patient safety a key goal of hospital management. These include efforts to identify and disseminate best practices more widely.

“While we cannot legislate away human error, we can develop systems for minimizing the chance of error by improving communication, standardizing practice, and learning from mistakes,” Coleman said. “In every area, such as long-term care, medical practice, and product development, we need to and can do better. And the tools for doing so are already at hand.”



This information came from a
US Senate online article.

*** Any law, statute, regulation or other precedent is subject to change at any time ***

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