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Hospital Patients Can Expect at Least One Drug Error a Day

According to the latest government figures, 44,000 to 98,000 Americans die each year from medical errors, and experts are now echoing what I have been saying for some time: it’s up to patients (and their families) to ensure their own safety when it comes to health care. Consider these alarming statistics:

  • About 34 percent of people say they or their families have experienced a medical error, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.
  • Nearly 2 million patients catch an infection from a hospital each year, and 90,000 die from it, according to the CDC.
  • Only 35 percent of hospital employees consistently wash their hands before they touch a patient.

While The Joint Commission, which accredits hospitals, has launched a program called Speak Up, which encourages patients to double check their doctors and voice any concerns, it may not be so easy -- studies have found that doctors tend to interrupt patients after just 23 seconds!

As it stands, the United States leads the world in medical errors, so if you do end up in a hospital or doctor’s office, make sure to be alert and ask questions before any decisions are made. Remember, it’s YOUR body.

And, if you want to take a giant step toward better health for you and your family, as well as eliminate your dependence on the often dishonest and harmful health care system, please make taking responsibility for your own health a priority in your life.

USA Today February 5, 2007