Sepsis and pneumonia, two infections that can often be prevented with tight infection control practices in hospitals, killed 48,000 patients and added $8.1 billion to heath care costs in 2006 alone, according to a study published today in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
The news, principal investigator Ramanan Laxminarayan tells the Health Blog, is that the study for the first time links about half of all infection deaths directly to infections acquired in the hospital in the course of care…
Accompanying the study is an editorial co-authored by Johns Hopkins Hospital safety guru Peter Pronovost, creator of one of the checklists used by hospitals to prevent infections. While he says the estimates in the study may have some “systematic errors” in calculating costs and mortality, “they suggest a substantial opportunity to reduce patient harm.”
48,000 deaths is the equivalent of 192 planes full of 250 people crashing every year. Add the other 50,000 who die in hospitals for other reasons associated with medical errors and it’s the equivalent of allowing a plane a day to crash with 250 people on board. The airline industry fixed their problems. And now we live in a markedly safer world, especially considering there are 40,000 flights a day in America alone.
It is criminal for the hospital industry to continue allowing these deaths due to lack of standards and protocols. Hospitals in America are by far the most dangerous places in America. Stay out of them as much as possible. And if you have to be in them, demand that nurses and doctors follow protocols with checklists for infection control. If they don’t, go to another hospital.