Twenty years ago, the Institute of Medicine published a report focusing on safety of patients and errors that can be prevented in hospitals. Several new initiatives were adopted in the health care system after the report was published. The Leapfrog Group’s Hospital Safety Grades, announced in November 2019, highlight the progress in bringing patient safety to the light and demonstrate improvement in issues identified 20 years ago.

If you are one of the few who think hospitals are dependable, you need to evaluate these numbers:

  • As many as 440,000 people die every year from errors, injuries, accidents, and infections in hospitals.
  • Every year, 1 in 25 patients develop an infection while in the hospital—an infection that could have been prevented.
  • A Medicare patient has 1 in 4 chance of experiencing injury, harm or death when admitted in a hospital.
  • Today alone, more than 1,000 people would die due to a hospital error that could have been prevented.

These numbers are for a developed country like the USA. I can only speculate what these numbers would be for developing nations as I couldn’t find any research done on this issue.

So next time, as a nurse, when you are washing your hands, double checking the ID band on the patient, calling a rapid response on a client, or even writing an incident report, be proud of yourself! You are making a difference in these numbers for the better!

– Anila