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Hearst National Investigation Finds Americans Are Continuing to Die in Staggering Numbers From Preventable Medical Injuries
Date:8/8/2009

mong the key findings of the Hearst investigation:

  • 20 states have no medical error reporting at all, five states have voluntary reporting systems and five are developing reporting systems;
  • Of the 20 states that require medical error reporting, hospitals report only a tiny percentage of their mistakes, standards vary wildly and enforcement is often nonexistent;
  • In terms of public disclosure, 45 states currently do not release hospital-specific information;
  • Only 17 states have systematic adverse-event reporting systems that are transparent enough to be useful to consumers;
  • The national patient-safety center is underfunded and has fallen far short of expectations;
  • Congress approved legislation for "Patient Safety Organizations" as a voluntary system for hospitals to report and learn from errors, but the new organizations are devoid of meaningful oversight and further exclude the public;
  • Hearst journalists interviewed 20 of the 21 living authors of "To Err is Human" -- 16 believe that the U.S. hasn't come close to reducing medical errors by half, the primary stated goal of the report;
  • New York's reporting system has run out of money and staff -- its last public report is four years old;
  • The law mandating reporting in Texas expired in 2007, and funding ran out -- a new reporting law has been passed, but no funds have been allocated;
  • Washington State requires reporting, but doesn't enforce that requirement -- and the legislature failed to provide funds to analyze the results.

"Dead By Mistake" includes profiles of more than 30 people who died or were injured while seeking medical care. Most lost their lives, some in lingering pain. Others lived on, with paralysis, amputation, burns and emotional distress. Families suffered in the aftermath. In some cases, paperwork was lost, or mischaracterize
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SOURCE Hearst Corporation
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