Miss Zou went to the Shenzhen Bao’an District Guangsheng Hospital for an examination because of a stomach ache, and was surprised to find details about a prostate on her type-B ultrasound report. Afterward, the hospital admitted that the doctor involved was not careful and this was a result of him having used the report template of an earlier male patient. Miss Zou at the same time questioned whether the doctor had made an error in his diagnosis, saying the mass that the hospital recommended surgery for had disappeared after just taking medication. After negotiations, Guangsheng Hospital ultimately refunded the patient’s medical expenses, and compensated her with 5000 yuan.
Sounds like China needs some medical reform. Without trying to give the impression of justifying the hospitals actions, these errors actually happen in other countries as well. Here’s a report from a particular hospital in Rhode Island, back in 2007:
According to Associated Press reports, the hospital was fined $50,000 and reprimanded by the state Department of Health on Monday after the third episode this year involving a doctor performing brain surgery on the wrong side of a patient’s head.
Fortunately, the chance of a serious mistake occurring during any given medical procedure is small. But these errors do happen — a fact evidenced by this recent news.
Not all hospitals share this track record. But due to the sheer number of medical procedures that take place in the country every year, even isolated incidents add up. A report last April by the independent health care-ratings company HealthGrades found through Medicare hospitalization records that nearly 3 percent of patients in the nation’s hospitals risk experiencing hospital errors.
The report further suggested that those patients who experience an error in treatment or care at a hospital have a one in four chance of dying from the mistake. In total, HealthGrades said, 247,662 patients studied between 2003 and 2005 died from potentially preventable problems.
And the Institute of Medicine estimates that each year 1.5 million patients suffer from mistakes with the medicine they’re given.
“Every error that results in harm to the patient is something health care providers and hospitals struggle to prevent,” says Nancy Foster, the American Hospital Association’s vice president for quality and patient safety policy. “We want no one to be harmed in the course of their care, yet we do know that [errors] happen.”
Richard Flagg drowned in his blood.
Stanley Stinnett choked on his vomit.
Both were victims of the leading cause of accidental death in America – mistakes made in medical care.
Experts estimate that 98,000 people die from preventable medical errors each year. More Americans die each month of preventable medical injuries than died in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Meanwhile, a federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study concluded that an additional 99,000 patients a year succumb to hospital-acquired infections. Almost all of those deaths, experts say, also are preventable.
However, when they do happen, it’s still doesn’t mean it’s excusable. I’d like to hear how this specific hospital is going to deal with this issue.
Food for thought: