Another Reason to be Grateful for Good Health – New England Journal of Medicine Publishes a Ma
Updated with Newly Available Link to NEJM Article
Thanksgiving of course is an excellent day to give thanks in general for good health. Now, here’s another reason to be thankful for good health.
The New England Journal of Medicine published on Thanksgiving a major new study on medical malpractice. Sadly, the study finds that medical malpractice is continuing at high levels. The study is summarized in this Denise Grady article in the NYT. Ms. Grady’s article also includes a link to and brief summary of the major 1999 study that reached the same general conclusions. Some key excerpts are below. The full text of the NEJM article is on-line here, and is free.
Best wishes to all for a joyous and peaceful Thanksgiving.
And, after the holiday, remember to cite the new study when someone blames lawyers for the "med mal crisis." Lawyer bashing is easy, but wrong. In general, doctors and hospitals are creating their own problems, some with obvious links to short-staffing.
Dr. Landrigan’s team focused on North Carolina because its hospitals, compared with those in most states, have been more involved in programs to improve patient safety.
But instead of improvements, the researchers found a high rate of problems. About 18 percent of patients were harmed by medical care, some more than once, and 63.1 percent of the injuries were judged to be preventable. Most of the problems were temporary and treatable, but some were serious, and a few — 2.4 percent — caused or contributed to a patient’s death, the study found.
The findings were a disappointment but not a surprise, Dr. Landrigan said. Many of the problems were caused by the hospitals’ failure to use measures that had been proved to avert mistakes and to prevent infections from devices like urinary catheters, ventilators and lines inserted into veins and arteries."