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Hospitals Have Lower Death Rates During Surprise Inspections

A new study on when hospital death rates are lowest showed some surprising statistics: Death rates actually drop during and immediately following regular inspections, according to Reuters. The differences were most noticeable at major teaching hospitals, showing that patient outcomes are, indeed, related to increased focus and attention by hospital staff.

It’s no secret that medical errors are the third leading cause of death. Recent statistics show this tallies up to about 250,000 Americans dying each year simply because of the “care” they’re receiving. Unfortunately, the CDC doesn’t collect or publish information relating to medical errors or deaths attributed to medical treatment.

The U.S. has the most expensive health care in the world, spending more on health care than the next 10 biggest spenders combined. Despite that, the U.S. ranks last in health and mortality when compared with 17 other developed nations. We may have one of the best systems for treating acute surgical emergencies, but the American medical system is clearly an unmitigated failure when it comes to treating chronic illness.

Overtesting and overtreatment are part of this problem. Instead of dissuading patients from unnecessary or questionable interventions, the system rewards waste and incentivizes disease over health. This means that it’s up to you to make sure you get the best health care when it comes to “treating” an illness and being admitted to a hospital. It is your right to question everything your doctor recommends and any procedure done to you in a hospital.

If you are scheduled for surgery, also make sure you have a personal advocate who will take notes and ask questions about procedures and medications on your behalf.
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