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News2008June › Doctor Errors: The 8 things that must never happen to you in hospital › June 2008

Doctor Errors: The 8 things that must never happen to you in hospital

There are eight things that must never, ever happen to you while you're in hospital

There are eight things that must never, ever happen to you while you're in hospital. If they do, health insurers say they will no longer pay out.

Tired of picking up the tab for the vast number of doctor and hospital errors that happen in American hospitals every year, health insurers have listed the eight 'no payout' errors - which means you could be footing the bill, and as they're so commonplace, there's a reasonable chance you will.

To give you an idea of the scale of the problem, around 2 million people get an infection every year while staying in an American hospital, and a further 100,000 will die as a result.

The eight 'no payout' errors relate to:

  • air embolism
  • blood incompatibility
  • catheter-associated urinary tract infection
  • decubitus ulcer (pressure sores)
  • vascular catheter-associated infection
  • surgical site infection
  • mediastinitis (infection of the chest area)
  • falls and trauma
  • objects left in the body after surgery.

And that's just a start. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are planning on adding a further nine errors, including the hospital-acquired killer infection C. difficile and deep vein thrombosis.

Aside from digging deep into health insurers' profits, the errors are also going unchecked, and it's almost as though hospitals and doctors are being rewarded for making them, the CMS believes.

(Source: Journal of the American Medical Association, 2008; 299: 2495-6).


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