Digital Access

Digital Access
Access mysuburbanlife.com from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Print Edition

Print Edition
Subscribe now to the print edition of Suburban Life.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Get text messages on your mobile phone or PDA with news, weather and more from mySuburbanLife.com.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
Our My Suburban Life Daily Update will send you all of the news you need to keep up with the pace of news in DuPage and Cook County.
The Holiday Gift Auction is Live! Click here and bid now on great local gifts!
Opinion

Seeing It Through: The alarming rate of deaths by medical errors must be reduced

Whenever I come across interesting thoughts, I save them for future reference. For example, these have been with me for some time. Where is the best, or worst, place to catch a virus? You may have guessed the answer. It’s at hospitals. For one thing, there are many people there who have viruses. Also, it is unfortunate that too many personnel do not practice simple sanitary procedures, such as washing their hands when working on patients so germs spread quickly.

When is the worst time to have a surgery? The answer surprised me, but there is some logic to it: July.

July is the month when many doctors start becoming resident physicians after graduating from medical schools. It seems to make sense that doctors beginning their medical professions may make medical errors more than senior doctors with greater medical experience.

After holding back on these two issues, I read much about the whole matter of medical errors, and how serious it has become. My conclusion is that, in spite of the fact that one’s medical attention is a personal matter, there must be some transparency on the number of hospital and medical errors that do occur and how many result in preventable deaths.

A recent study by a journal on patient safety concluded that medical errors that lead to patient deaths are much higher than previously thought and may be as high as 400,000 in a year. If that is true, medical errors follow heart disease and cancer and is the third leading cause of death, according to the Center for Disease Control.

It is a matter of fact, too, that lobbyists that represent hospitals across the country, have fought any attempts to force the hospitals to report the data relating to medical errors. It seems to me that when we persist that workplace safety in virtually every private endeavor must comply with regulations that promote work place health and safety, we must not ignore the issue when hospitals are concerned. Those are the institutions that are licensed to provide for the health and safety of patients, and when medical errors can be reduced, it is in the best interests of all who need hospital care and attention.

No one is on a witch hunt to expose negligent or criminal acts. Human error is apt to happen, whatever the endeavor. But what is important is that human error can be preventable, and the greater probability of reducing the alarming number of deaths from medical errors is when these error are focused upon so remedial action can be taken.

If it saves one life, the transparency is worth it. But we know it can result in saving many, many lives, so it is important medical errors be reduced.

Loading more