As much as 10 per cent of patients entering hospital will experience preventable "adverse events", according to a study of two UK hospitals.
Researchers have already documented that 3.7-16.6 per cent of patients in the US and Australia have similar experiences.
A review of 1014 acute care patient records shows that, overall, 110 patients had 119 adverse events. Eight per cent of these patients died and 25 per cent suffered moderate to serious impairment because of hospital mistakes. The authors note that such events are becoming commonplace throughout the world, and that the illness and death they cause are largely preventable (BMJ, 2001; 322: 517-9).