U.S. Hospitals Fail to Improve Patient Safety and Injure and Kill Thousands Every Day

Nearly one million patient-safety incidents occurred among Medicare patients over the years 2006, 2007, and 2008 -- the figure remained virtually unchanged. In all, the incidents were associated with $8.9 billion in costs.

Some of the most common and most serious indicators even worsened, including decubitus ulcer (bed sores), iatrogenic pneumothorax (collapsed lung), post-operative hip fracture, post-operative physiologic and metabolic derangements, post-operative pulmonary embolism (potentially fatal blood clots forming in the lungs) or deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in the legs), post-operative sepsis, and transfusion reaction.

One in ten patients -- almost 100,000 people all told -- experiencing a patient-safety incident died as a result.

Patients at hospitals in the top 5 percent experienced 43 percent fewer patient safety incidents, on average. If all hospitals performed at this level, more than 218,000 patient safety incidents and over 22,0000 deaths could potentially have been avoided, saving $2 billion over three years.

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