Almost everyone is aware of the errors that occur in hospitals. Giving a patient the wrong drug, wrong dose, performing the wrong surgical procedure and other events can lead to significant harm and sometimes death.
A recent study attempted to estimate just how often these events occurred in U.S. hospitals. Researchers found “a lower limit of 210,000 deaths per year was associated with preventable harm in hospitals.” They went on to note “the true number of premature deaths associated with preventable harm to patients was estimated at more than 400,000 per year. Serious harm seems to be 10- to 20-fold more common than lethal harm.”
To help protect hospital patients from the potential for harm, the authors recommend that “fully engaging patients and their advocates during hospital care, systematically seeking the patients’ voice in identifying harms, transparent accountability for harm, and intentional correction of root causes of harm will be necessary to accomplish this goal.”