Tuesday, September 1, 2009

From the News: Two Reports on Medical Errors in Hospitals

Design intended to reduce errors at new Mercy center
Des Moines Register - August 26, 2009

Demonstrating the patient lifts and video monitoring system, Mercy Medical Center-West Lakes Administrator Dan Aten beams with pride when he shows visitors the metro area's latest medical facility.

He's quick to point out that quality and safety were the main goals in designing the 83-bed facility.

"We have great opportunities when you're building something from scratch. We built it smaller and more efficient in many ways," he said.

The $100 million hospital, set to open Sept. 8, is the result of three years of design, discussion and research, Aten said. Mercy officials spoke with staff members and patients in addition to visiting sites throughout the country as part of a planning process focusing on "evidence-based design."

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Hospitals Own Up to Errors
Wall Street Journal: Informed Patient Blog - August 25, 2009

Kaelyn Sosa, 6, was crippled as a toddler by a medical error. Her mother, Sandy, now helps the hospital protect other patients from such accidents.

As often happens after medical accidents, the facility, Baptist Children's Hospital in Miami, settled with the Sosa family for an undisclosed sum. But the hospital went further. Administrators analyzed the chain of events that led to the tragedy. They put in place new measures aimed at preventing the mistakes that injured Kaelyn from recurring and to better respond when something does go wrong. The hospital then engaged the child's parents in educational efforts to underline to medical staff the critical importance of patient safety.

Now Sandy Sosa, Kaelyn's mother, serves as a community liaison on the hospital's quality-and-patient-safety committee. "We wanted something good to come out of what happened to our daughter," she says.

Medical errors kill as many as 98,000 Americans each year, according to the Institute of Medicine, a government advisory group. In an effort to improve this record, some hospitals like Baptist Children's are taking steps to admit grievous mistakes and to learn from them in order to overhaul flawed procedures. That represents a sharp departure from hospitals' traditional response when something goes terribly wrong—retreating behind a wall of silence to guard against potential lawsuits.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

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