News Hospitals are dangerous places

Ivan Seeking

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In the news: I didn't spot the story reported tonight, but the number of up to 100,000 deaths per year in the US due to medical errors was cited. Some related reading which shows that hospitals are about [maybe half] as dangerous as cigarettes; based on a simple head count of wrongful deaths each year.

The idea is to increase patient safety. One in every five Americans reports that they or a family member have experienced some kind of medical error. In 1999, 44,000 to 98,000 deaths were because of medical error. [continued]
http://www.independenttribune.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=CIT%2FMGArticle%2FCIT_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1031783552377&path=!news [Broken]

It is estimated around 40,000 deaths a year in the UK are caused by "breakdowns in patient safety".
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/4121542.stm


Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta has estimated that as many as 2 million infections are acquired in hospitals each year, resulting in 90,000 deaths, said Denise Cardo, director of the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion. [continued]
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/12/AR2005071201555.html
 
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Ivan Seeking

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The number for the UK obviously doesn't apply to the US, but the report cites an additional significant cause of death: Equipment failure. I didn't spot a similar number for the US.
 

Pengwuino

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I wonder if theres a connection between the rise in deaths with any rise in patients
 

loseyourname

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You might want to consider changing the title of this thread. When I first read it, I started laughing and thought to myself "of course they're dangerous, everyone there is either sick or injured and there are poisons lining the shelves." That kind of detracts from the point you're trying to make.

That first article is pretty reassuring, though. I've been wondering for years why hospitals and medical offices didn't simply have all that stuff on file to begin with. The woman they talked with made a great point about elderly patients having complications from allergies they forget they had and drug interactions from drugs they forgot they were taking. It can be hard for an individual to remember all that stuff. It sounds like the pharmacies are the really dangerous places.
 

loseyourname

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Pengwuino said:
I wonder if theres a connection between the rise in deaths with any rise in patients
I looked at the article again to be sure, and none of them said anything about a rise in deaths. They just state the numbers, without any comparison to previous numbers.
 

Ivan Seeking

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loseyourname said:
You might want to consider changing the title of this thread. When I first read it, I started laughing and thought to myself "of course they're dangerous, everyone there is either sick or injured and there are poisons lining the shelves." That kind of detracts from the point you're trying to make.
It was intended to be a little tongue and cheek, but hopefully not to the point of distraction. :biggrin:
 

Ivan Seeking

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I would imagine that hospital caused infections rates are up as compared to twenty years ago.

EDIT: FYI, a couple of the more interesting accidents that I saw during my seven years in the medical field, involved MRIs. In one case someone took an O2 H-tank - ie five foot missile - into the magnet room while a patient was on the table. Luckily it only skimmed his belly as flew past. The guy with the WWI [low grade stainless] pins in his leg wasn't so lucky. :yuck:
 
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loseyourname

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Well, they're almost certainly up compared to forty years ago, since the evolution of antibiotic resistant bacteria.
 
loseyourname said:
Well, they're almost certainly up compared to forty years ago, since the evolution of antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Ah, yes, the infamous MRSA's.

Here's an interesting article from Canada about a http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2005/03/23/infection-netherlands050323.html [Broken].
 
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Pedant Patty would like to point out that number of infections per se would not be up as a result of drug resistant bacteria, but rather that the number of infections that are difficult to clear with antibiotics is up. In this sense the rate of acquisition of a problematic infection is certainly no worse than before the advent of antibiotics.

Number of nosocomial infections may actually be down, as measures such as quarantine and better sterilisation/disposal of contaminated items, etc, are more in force today than 5 - 6 decades ago.
 

Art

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Ah, yes, the infamous MRSA's.

Here's an interesting article from Canada about a http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2005/03/23/infection-netherlands050323.html [Broken].
One of the problems in England recently identified are the ambulances are harbouring the bugs thus cross infecting hospitals.
 
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selfAdjoint

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Number of nosocomial infections may actually be down, as measures such as quarantine and better sterilisation/disposal of contaminated items, etc, are more in force today than 5 - 6 decades ago.
Quaranteen is better now? I don't think so. When I was a child (1933 -1946) quaranteen for measles and whooping cough was the common thing, but not now. Of course we have vaccines for those, but when was the last time you saw a quaranteen sign on someone's house for anything?
 
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That's not what I'm talking about.

Quarantine for "simple" bacterial infections, within the hospital. Hospitals have wards now specifically for MRSA. There is special staff for MRSA infected patients, etc. Some equipment is kept out of general use, and so on.
 

Moonbear

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pattylou said:
That's not what I'm talking about.

Quarantine for "simple" bacterial infections, within the hospital. Hospitals have wards now specifically for MRSA. There is special staff for MRSA infected patients, etc. Some equipment is kept out of general use, and so on.
That's what I would think too, that although more antibiotic resistant bacteria are running around, hospital sanitation practices are more stringent than decades ago. Even a minor example that likely has a big impact on reducing spread of infections is that the university hospital here requires that any child under 14 wear a face mask while visiting (this would both keep the children with mild infections from schoolmates from infecting patients who might be more sensitive to the illnesses, especially the little kids who don't always remember to cover their mouth and nose when they sneeze, and it keeps the kids from being exposed while visiting, again, especially the little ones prone to sticking fingers in their mouths and noses). Anyone entering with a cough of any kind is also required to wear a mask.

The hospital staff also have much more stringent guidelines for wearing protective garments/equipment than they used to as well, which means they are less likely to be spreading infections from patient to patient. A lot more of the hospital supplies are disposable and packaged in individual sterile packs, so there would be fewer issues of improper sterilization leading to spread of infection.
 

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