Recently, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported on the personal tragedy of Catherine "Pat" Zakrzewski, who died after acquiring an infection during hospitalization. The article shed light on a rarely discussed aspect of hospital care, namely conditions that lead to serious injury or death that are acquired during hospitalization. Healthcare associated medical errors are estimated to be one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Simply put, if you or a family member require medical attention, there is no guarantee you will leave the hospital in better health than when you entered thanks to sub-par or inconsistent care.
For too long we have accepted the notion that medical errors such as hospital acquired infections,
pressure ulcers, and many other complications are an inevitable part of providing needed care in the complex hospital environment. It is now clear that many of these complications and deaths can often be prevented if hospitals follow procedures based on best practices and scientific evidence. The good news is that there are organizations that have been able to reduce medical errors. Eliminating medical errors during healthcare encounters in all Philadelphia hospitals must be the only acceptable expectation. Achieving that goal requires a commitment by the hospital’s leadership, healthcare workers and all of us.
What if all hospitals were able to utilize best practice for eliminating medical errors?
What if we as consumers contracted with our healthcare providers before undergoing procedure to get their commitment to utilize best practice?
What if all hospitals and other healthcare institutions were error free by 2015?