September 7, 2006 | Mark Paradies

London Daily Mail Reports: Half a million patients are hit by NHS blunders

I’ve mentioned needless deaths and injuries at healthcare facilities before in this blog, in our e-Newsletter, and in the Root Cause Network™ Newsletter.

A TapRooT® User forwarded me this link to a story in the London Daily Mail about mistakes and injuries at National Health Service hospitals in the UK:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=402499&in_page_id=1770

It looks like their problems are similar to those experienced in the US.

Note that the TapRooT® Summit in San Antonio on April 25-28 has a whole track devoted to stopping medical errors. Perhaps the NHS should be sending an attendee … or maybe two or more!

Whenever a company or government agency has problems that result in fatalities, action speaks louder than excuses and statistics. The families and loved ones of the 2,159 people that died last year in the UK due to medical errors probably are NOT comforted by the fact that those who died were, according to a UK NHS spokesperson, “… a tiny proportion of the millions of patients who use the NHS each year.”

From the spokesperson’s insensitive comment, I guess we should thank the NHS for not killing a large fraction of the patients.

Perhaps I am particularly sensitive to this issue because my mother was harmed by a medical error at a hospital in the US. At the time of the mistake, it could have been fatal. The mistake caused significant “loss of function.” It wasn’t detected until I arrived at the hospital 48 hours later (I was on the road teaching a 5-Day Course). The loss of function eventually contributed to her death a couple of years later.

We never sued anyone but the experience made stopping medical errors much more personal.

Now you may understand why I’m so passionate about improving the quality of care at hospitals. I understand the personal loss that these errors lead to. And I know that dramatic improvement is possible and is cost effective.

So if you are at a medical facility, please don’t be offended by my critical analysis of the state of care – and other’s articles that highlight errors. Rather, consider attending the Summit because you know it was organized by someone (me) with a personal interest in the success of improvement in the medical industry. Stopping medical errors is a high on my list of priorities as I hope it is for everyone who works in the medical industry around the world.

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