Last week we blogged about a new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine showing that patient safety has not improved in the ten years since the Institute of Medicine published its famous study showing that medical errors kill 98,000 Americans a year.
How to improve patient safey? This week the ECRI Institute released its fourth annual Top Ten list of threats to patient safety. They are:
1. Radiation Overdoses: A subject we’ve blogged about here, here and here.
2. Alarm Hazards: Whenever you go to a hospital, you hear dozens of alarms buzzing, alerting staff to problems with patients. The danger comes when nurses or doctors silence the alarms to stop the annoying ringing, or simply ignore them.
3. Cross-contamination from flexible endoscopes: Most infection problems are preventable, if attention is paid to them.
4. Radiation overdoses in CT scans: Again a subject we’ve blogged. See above.
5. Problems with medical records: Information Technology needs to improve so that patient records are more easily obtained and health care providers are working on interoperable systems.
6. Luer Connections: Luer Connections are important parts that hook up needles, catheters and tubes. When improperly connected, they can introduce improper gases or liquids into a patient’s bloodstream.
7. Overdosage through PCA infusion pumps: PCA pumps administer set doses painkillers. When misprogrammed, they can overdose a patient.
8. Needle sticks: They’re a problem that affects not only health care providers but also patients.
9. Surgical fires: Surgical fires are as common as wrong-site surgeries. In this week’s news was a gruesome case where a patient’s throat was set on fire during laser surgery.
10. Defibrillator problems: This problem of increasing urgency was added to the list this year.
This blog is maintained by the Boston medical malpractice lawyers at The Law Office of Alan H. Crede, P.C. The blog neither contains nor offers legal advice.