Kentucky medical patients might be interested to find out that medical experts have called for Congress to take action against preventable injuries and deaths in medical facilities. On July 17, doctors and medical professors urged the government to mandate that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention begin to track patient harms, not just infections that patients contract in hospitals.

According to the National Patient Safety Foundation's president, research indicates that prescription errors, drug-related injuries and adverse effects happen in as many as 25 percent of patients in the first 30 days after they are prescribed a medication. He says that delayed diagnoses and misdiagnoses are also issues and the main causes of medical malpractice claims amongst outpatients. The foundation president is calling for a system that monitors patient care rather a reliance on medical professionals to get everything right.

A study from a patient advocate and scientist estimates that up to 400,000 deaths occur each year in part because of preventable harm in hospitals. He is calling for the establishment of a national safety board to conduct investigations into patient harm and for a national bill of rights for patients. The Consumers Union Safe Patient Project's director is calling for more meaningful reporting of patient harm to motivate improvement amongst health care providers and to allow patients to make knowledgeable decisions.

Meanwhile, patients who suffer injuries as the result of medical negligence could receive compensation if they are able to prove their cases. The compensation might pay for additional medical care costs and for any pain and suffering associated with the injuries. Patients who are unable to work for a period or are no longer able to return to work could be compensated for lost income and lost future income.

Source: NPR, "Health Safety Experts Call For Public Reporting Of Medical Harms", Marshall Allen, July 18, 2014

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