July 29, 2004
Hospitals are bad

So, you think you go to a hospital to get better? Well, studies show that might not always be the case. This article shows that the percentage of errors that are bad for the patients are on the rise. As one who works in the field, I can say that a lot of this is preventable with technology or better processes - but that there is a HUGE amount of resistance from doctors (who are all prima donnas) and the nursing staff (because it means more work).

Posted by ron at July 29, 2004 08:01 AM

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When my dad had back surgery they gave him meds from the patient who was in his room before

Posted by: Dianne on July 29, 2004 02:21 PM

Very nice - that's the sort of stuff that happens all the time. The current process that hospitals are trying to get is one that verifies that the right drug is being administered to the right patient at the right time in the right dose and the right form (the 5 Rights, as they call it). However, that only catches about 50% of the errors (would've caught yours, thought). The best systems use Computer Physician Order Entry (CPOE), automatically check the drug against a patients known allergies, conditions (such as not giving something that boosts blood pressure to someone with high blood pressure), and against the other drugs they're taking. Then, that is electronically sent to the inpatient pharmacy, where it is verified electronically by a pharmacist. Then, on the patients floor (and preferably in their room), a specialized cabinet can be opened that only lets the nurse take out those specific drugs that the patient needs at that time - and then forces the nurse to verify, via a barcode, that s/he's giving the drugs in accordance with the 5 Rights from above.

However, most hospitals won't do this as it's friggin expensive (not that the lawsuits for errors aren't...) and it requires a significant amount of work to change the workflow that's currently in place. Also, this only addresses med errors - not mis-diagnosis, screwed up surgeries, lost patients, and the like.

Posted by: Ron on July 29, 2004 03:02 PM

Not sure where the rest of the post I made went. Guess I screwed up the html.

Posted by: Dianne on July 29, 2004 04:55 PM

My cousin was in the hospital to have some procedure/test done. He's a todler, I'm not positive of his exact age. He has a latex allergy, which was written on every form and that his Mom told everyone and all that. So what did they do? Not pay attention and use latex, of course! Now his allergy is worse and it's apparently permanent. What's even more disgusting is that when his Mom went looking for a lawyer the first words out of their mouths were "Well, did he DIE?"

Posted by: Sherri on July 30, 2004 12:24 AM

Lawyers - leeches of society.

Wonder if the guy was a student of the John Edwards school of trial lawyers...

Actually, though, that is a horrible event to have happen. Makes me think, that if Amber and I have kids, we'll need to be in there and follow any procedures, etc., to make sure there is no latex or whatever they might be allergic to used...

Posted by: Ron on July 30, 2004 08:03 AM
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