- A decline in bed sores helped save an estimated 20,300 lives.
- A drop in adverse drug events (such as overdoses and administering the wrong medication) saved another 11,500 lives.
- Fewer patient falls saved 6,400 lives.
Hospital Safety Improves
In many ways, hospitals are some of the safest places around. In both planned and emergency situations, these modern medical facilities are poised to treat every type of illness or injury imaginable. Patients entrust their health to doctors, nurses, technicians, and other medical staff. Unfortunately, hospitals can also be chaotic places. They can be understaffed and lack effective systems of communication and service. When this is the case, the results can be disastrous to patients. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), medical errors are behind only heart disease and cancer as the leading causes of death in the United States. A 2013 report estimated that every year, between 210,000 and 440,000 hospital patients experience a preventable medical episode that contributes to their death. Furthermore, two million patients each year suffer hospital-acquired infections, like bloodstream and urinary tract infections from catheters. These discouraging assessments of American healthcare prompted various public and private groups to conduct a substantial investigation in an attempt to identify the most beneficial practices that could reduce hospital-acquired medical conditions. Once these practices were put into place in 2010 for a three-year period, roughly 50,000 lives were saved. Incidents of hospital-induced harm fell by an estimated 1.3 million episodes. For example: