Thursday, October 26, 2006

Demand quality medical care

“Missed diagnoses, incorrect drug dosing, failure to treat promptly”. “100,000 Americans die annually from medical errors”.

As I have mentioned in regards to the “Vance case”, it was the system that failed her, that resulted in her death. We must fix the system to prevent similar deaths in the future. I got 4 more emails decrying the quality of care received by Ms Vance and the care the authors of the emails had received at various places across the country.

There is hope and some of the hope inducing programs are highlighted in a recent Newsweek series. Programs like “Medically Induced Trauma Support Services” that provides support to anyone involved in a “medical misadventure”. The “Executive Walk-Rounds” that occur at Brigham and Women’s Hospital that ensure administrators are abreast of hospital problems, errors and potential errors and that “patient-safety officers” intervene early and remedy the situations. The “Hopkins (Johns Hopkins Medical Center) Center for Innovation in Quality Patient Care” and their “Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program” exist to head off problems or intervene quickly so they are not repeated. The “100,000 Lives Campaign” to decrease medical errors and preventable problems using proven protocols across the nation.

We deserve quality care in every hospital in our country and in every episode of medical care. As is pointed out in the series the “old” philosophy was to “accept” a certain error rate, just as manufacturing accepts/expects a certain defect rate in their products, but we must be about “striving for perfection” in healthcare in this country. Will we ever be perfect? No, but we must strive and accept no less a goal. “…doctors, nurses, pharmacists and technicians will always make mistakes—it’s the safety net around them that needs to be fixed”. “…we have to put systems in place that stop that error from causing harm”.

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