The Troubling Facts of our Hospital Healthcare System
The Health & Human Services determined in a 2010 study that:
- 13.5 percent of hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries experienced adverse events during their hospital stays.
- 13.1 percent experienced an adverse event resulting in the four most serious categories of patient harm. An estimated 1.5 percent of Medicare beneficiaries experienced an event that contributed to their deaths, which projects 15,000 patients in a single month.
- An additional 13.5 percent of Medicare beneficiaries experienced events during their hospital stays that resulted in temporary harm.
- Physician reviewers determined that 44 percent of adverse and temporary harm events were clearly or likely preventable.
1999 Institute of Medicine Report
Startling conclusions were documented in the landmark 1999 Institute of Medicine report, “To Err is Human” commissioned by the National Patient Safety Foundation:
- “At least 44,000 - 98,000 Americans die each year a result of medical errors.”
- “More people die in a given year as a result of medical errors than from motor vehicle accidents, breast cancer or AIDS.”
- “About 2 out of every 100 admissions experienced a preventable adverse drug event.”
- “The decentralized and fragmented nature of the health care delivery system contributes to unsafe conditions for patients.”
A 2010 letter to the Star Tribune written by Linda Hamilton, president of the Minnesota Nurses Association states:
“We, the nurses who care directly for you, are saying in as plain a manner as possible that we can no longer guarantee your safety within the system hospital executives and administrators have created. It's been proven time and again that unsafe staffing levels inside our hospitals lead to more patient deaths and a higher numbers of these "adverse events" we hear about in this report each January.”
Center for Ethical Solutions
The Center for Ethical Solutions has concluded, “overburdened nurses are often unable to provide quality individual attention, errors on patient treatment charts are common, and 'medical managers' may have time just to touch the surface of a patient's medical needs.”
“Nursing care in America's hospitals has reached a critical shortage - the worst in 50 years. To make matters worse, just as there are fewer nurses, the population is aging and in need of more medical care. We have a much higher acuity level patient who requires a lot more nursing care and we have less nurses to provide that care.” Dr. Peter Buerhaus
Assistant Dean of Vanderbilt
School of Nursing