Senator advocates for improved patient safety

Medical errors are of serious concern to residents not just in Pennsylvania but throughout the nation. As more reports tell about the new status of medical errors as the third leading cause of death in the United States, the grave nature of this issue becomes more apparent. From medication errors to surgical errors and beyond, the risks abound for patients on a daily basis.

One recently published media article illustrates the attention that this topic is getting nationally. The United States senator from California, Barbara Boxer, has issued her own report on the topic, urging medical facilities and professionals to take greater care to prevent errors. Her work detailed out nine primary causes of death that included blood clots, urinary tract infections contracted from catheters, pneumonia associated with ventilators and negative side effects from medications. She is an avid supporter of the Patient Safety Movement Foundation which is working to eliminate all deaths resulting from medical errors by the year 2020.

The article discussed some ways that hospitals are working to reduce errors such as the user of electronic charts and barcodes or having staff wear certain colors when performing specific jobs to alert others and prevent interruptions which can lead to mistakes. In these first four months of 2014, penalties amounting to $250,000 have been issued by the California Department of Public Health to five different hospitals around the state, including UCLA Medical Center.

Patients can hopefully benefit from increased awareness about the need for better oversight and safe practices. Anyone who has been the victim of a serious injury due to a negligent physician may wish to talk with a lawyer to learn more about the laws that can help to provide some compensation.

Source: Los Angeles Daily News, “325,000 deaths in American hospitals due to medical errors, Sen. Barbara Boxer says,” Susan Abram, April 25, 2014