Going To The Hospital? Human Error 10 Times Higher Than Estimated

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — If you’re sick or injured, researchers say you may be taking your life in your hands by going to the one place that can help you.

A new study shows injuries caused by hospital error are 10 times more frequent than previously estimated.

Researchers at the University of Utah looked at nearly 800 patients admitted to three large medical centers with strong patient safety initiatives.

The number of “adverse injuries” they found suggests that as many as 1 in 3 hospital admissions results in a patient being harmed or even killed — not by what led to hospitalization but by doctors or other medical staff.

Doctor David Barron, former Chief of Staff of Santa Monica/UCLA Medical Center, tells KNX 1070 the numbers are troubling.

Barron says part of the problem is that no doctor wants to admit mistakes.

“There’s a culture of perfection that we have to change,” said Barron. “We want to certainly strive for perfection, but we need for hospital employees to understand that it’s human to make a mistake and to report it when it does happen.”

Researchers found the two most common types of adverse events that occurred were post-surgery infections and bed sores, both of which are preventable.

The study appears in the April edition of the journal Health Affairs.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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