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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Huge toll of avoidable suffering and deaths because of blunders in NHS hospitals. - A million are harmed each year. - I am one of those harmed.

From the Telegraph -

Hospital blunders 'kill 90,000 patients'


"More than 90,000 patients die and almost one million are harmed each year because of hospital blunders, research suggests.

Errors during surgery, misdiagnosis, falls, infections and complications are all to blame for the problems that contribute to the death and injury tolls in England each year.

Researchers found that between 8.7 per cent and 10 per cent of hospital stays involved such mistakes and up to a half were preventable.

Prof Trevor Sheldon, the author of the study published in the British Medical Journal, said a stay in hospital was as "risky as bungee jumping".

He examined medical notes from one hospital over six months and said the results were representative of what is happening across the country.

In 15 per cent of cases the adverse event led to impairment or disability that lasted for more than six months and increased the average stay in hospital by eight days.

The study did not include patients who were in hospital for less than a day, had mental health problems or gave birth.

There were 9.1 million hospital stays in England in 2005/6 if day case, maternity and mental health patients are not included and Prof Sheldon's figures mean 910,303 of these patients suffered harm as a result of a blunder. In 91,030 cases it contributed to their death."

"Errors included a patient at high risk of blood clots who was not given blood thinners, an avoidable delay in diagnosing cancer, a patient addicted to painkillers after being prescribed them repeatedly and a spleen that was torn during surgery, leaving the patient needing treatment for life.

Peter Walsh, of Action against Medical Accidents, a charity, said the real figures could be much higher as the research does not include incidents in General Practice, ambulance trusts or mental health and covers only England.

A Health Department spokesman said patient safety had long been a priority. "It is important to remember that serious failures are uncommon in relation to the volume of care provided by the NHS."

And remember - a great deal of medical negligence and poor care of patients is not recorded...

Amazing that the Health Department spokesman said patient safety had long been a priority and that it is important to remember that serious failures are uncommon in relation to the volume of care provided by the NHS! - This is so manifestly untrue that one can only assume that the spokesman has not yet read the report...(o:

I know personally all too well that patient safety is by no means a priority in the NHS. I have been in great pain and substantially disabled for 3 months now because my reporting excruciating pain and great swelling, including a huge blue 'hump' on the back of my right hand, was effectively disregarded by the many (dozens?) healthcare staff I informed. Having broken my right humerus at the end of August, I am still unable to use my right hand and lift my right wrist and am in very great pain with it. This is because I had to wait 12 and a half days before my arm was operated upon, and during that long, intensely painful time the hand and lower arm became extremely swollen because of the splint I had to wear, and the radial nerve was damaged. I also have lymphoedema in the arm. I now have to have carers come to help me get washed and dressed and undressed...)o: - As a steroid victim with fragile thin skin and delicate veins already, I did not need to be further harmed by the NHS...)o: