More Doctors Performing ''Wrong-Site'' Surgeries

Last fall, I told you about a dubious category America leads the rest of the world by far: Medical errors. And the problem is getting worse, according to a study compiled by the non-profit Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (free text report below) on "wrong-site" surgeries.

Excluding spinal procedures, the study of some 3 million operations over two decades found the rate of medical mistakes -- ones that involved the wrong body part or patient -- has risen. So much so, the commission has required doctors mark the spot on a patient's body where the medical procedure is being performed before surgery.

Nurses are also expected to check up on a doctor's "marks" and alert medical professionals about the procedure being performed, according to the commission's protocols. Nevertheless, some physicians still ignore the safety checks, and resist the call for standardized, systematic conduct, says one surgeon.

Here's the real scary part, folks: There's no incentive for hospitals and doctors to practice safer medicine, one expert says, because hospitals want medical staffers to shuttle patients through procedures more quickly.

That rush to finish may also explain why deaths from prescription drugs skyrocket at the start of each month too. Reports like these reflect the miserable state of conventional health care throughout the world, and go far toward explaining why I've dedicated my life and career to transforming the traditional cure-focused paradigm to one focused on treating and preventing the true causes of disease.

Archives of Surgery, Vol. 141, No. 4, April 2006: 353-358 Free Full Text Article

USA Today April 17, 2006

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