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A Step That Saves Lives. Does Your Hospital Use It?


The aviation industry used it first.  Then the nuclear industry.  Years later it was tried for surgical cases.  Now all hospitals are encouraged to use them with all inpatients.

What is “it”?

Safety checklists.

Sounds simple and obvious, right?  And research shows they save lives and reduce the length of hospital stays.

Guess what.  The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that only 25% of U.S. hospitals currently use them.  And those hospitals that do, struggle to implement even basic, often paper-based checklists.

How is all this possible?  Lives are at stake…

Well – experts believe the difficulties arise from “a failure to create an organizational culture of safety”.

But why?

There are many reasons.  Failed leadership.  Indifference.  Improper training.   And sadly… it appears that there may be more profitable for hospitals when they make mistakes… this according to a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

According to the study’s authors, complications and errors lead to longer hospital stays and extra care which in turn leads to more expensive treatment.  Improving safety through the use of tools like safety checklists simply leads to lower revenues per patient in many cases.  The research found that patients who experienced one or more post-op complications were associated with a whopping $39,017 higher profit per patient with private insurance plans.

Could technology someday come to the rescue?

Probably not entirely (at least not yet) – but there are new checklist apps being developed that could someday prove to be enormously helpful in reducing hospital errors.  One of them – called Emerge, pulls together checklists for seven safety events including blood clots and central-line associated bloodstream infections, and alerts medical staff of safety concerns in the different stages of a patient’s stay.

Are they the answer?  No.  To stay safe – a patient and their family must stay vigilant, ask questions, and observe.  Are hygiene rules rigorously enforced? Is there adequate staff on the floor?  Does the facility have a low rate of what is called central line infections as well as slip and falls?

If you or a loved one is ever the victim of medical malpractice,  call a qualified Connecticut medical malpractice lawyer. A knowledgeable malpractice attorney can help to ensure that your rights are protected.

RisCassi & Davis has handled thousands of medical malpractice cases over our almost 60 years serving the people of Connecticut.

What’s more, our Connecticut medical malpractice lawyers have received local and national recognition for our handling of these cases.  Please contact us if we can help you. The consultation is free and there is no obligation of any kind.

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