Doctors and hospital administrators in Missouri and nationally understandably have an obsession with getting things rights and avoiding errors, given the clear and singular downside associated with mistakes in the medical profession.
Although it is certainly true that errors committed by medical professionals in hospitals and clinics across the country do not routinely result in adverse outcomes, it is just as true that mistakes frequently bring about dire consequences.
In a worst-case scenario, of course, a medical error can cause a patient death.
Just how common are patient fatalities linked to preventable medical mistakes?
Some of our readers might be highly surprised to hear a widely cited estimate of the number of times that patients die in American hospitals each year from a medical mistake committed by a member of their care team.
As noted by an executive of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center, the number of patient deaths that occur annually from preventable errors could be as high as 440,000.
And that is far from being the only sobering statistic regarding facility-sourced mistakes. A study undertaken by the magazine has concluded that about 1,000 people are victimized by a drug error every day and that nearly three of every 10 hospital patients suffer from at least one medical mistake during their period of hospitalization.
A recent article chronicling hospital errors states that some facilities have materially improved safety and patient outcomes “by using simple but stringent protocols.”
As high-tech as the medical industry is, it is interesting to note that those protocols often stress basic and common-sense measures, such as routine hand washing by medical professionals.