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The Medical Mistakes That Kill Americans Every Day

The fourth annual HealthGrades study on Patient Safety in American Hospitals Study examined over 40 million Medicare hospitalization records at almost 5,000 hospitals between 2003 and 2005.

It found that patient safety incidents in U.S. hospitals increased by 3 percent overall over that period, and there continued to be a large gap (a 40 percent difference) in errors made at the worst hospitals compared to those made at the best hospitals.

Ten out of 16 types of patient safety incidents increased over the three years of the study, by an average of almost 12 percent. The highest increases were in post-operative sepsis (an increase of 34.3 percent), post-operative respiratory failure (18.7 percent), and selected infections due to medical care (12.2 percent).

There were more than a million patient safety incidents among Medicare patients alone that period, and almost 250,000 potentially preventable deaths in U.S. hospitals. Medicare patients involved in at least one safety incident had a 25 percent chance of dying.

HealthGrades April 2, 2007

Live Science.com April 2, 2007

Washington Post April 2, 2007

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

The United States, despite making up less than 5 percent of the world's population, ranks as #1 in the following categories:

  • Nobel Prize-winners (296)
  • Billionaires (371)
  • Most patents
  • Most Internet users (205,327,000) 
  • Most roads (3.98 million miles), airports (14,858) and railway tracks (140,805 miles)

Despite all the amazing achievements above, and spending over $2 trillion every year for health care, the United States has acquired a health care system that, in many respects, is a dismal failure for those it seeks to serve.

A few months ago, I shared the very dismal results of a HealthGrades report regarding American hospital quality. Be warned, the organization's latest report about patient safety in American hospitals is even more dismal.

One interesting fact: if the gap between high and low performers in terms of hospital safety wasn't as steep, some 200,000 safety problems and 34,000 Medicare patient deaths would've been avoided, at a savings of $1.7 billion. This is why researching what hospital you use, and being careful about your choice, can be a critically important matter.

Fortunately, you do have some options here. You do NOT have to rely on the conventional medical model.

You CAN Take Control of Your Health.

You can take matters into your own hands by making lifestyle choices that will keep from being hospitalized in the first place.

As the foundation of conventional medicine keeps coming apart at the seams, you just can't afford to let anyone else besides you take responsibility for your health care decisions. Reading this and many other articles means you're searching for answers, certainly a good thing that means better health for you in the long run.

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