First, Do No Harm -- US Health Care System Accidentally Kills Hundreds of Thousands
That's what doctors are taught in medical school. It should be the focus of all medical care.
But, as you can see in the article from the Washington Monthly, written by Marshall Allen, a health care reporter for the Las Vegas Sun, it is far from a reality in our health care system.
The article is lengthy, so you may want to come back to it a couple of times to finish reading it all. But, do read it all. It is very revealing.
Here's an analogy in the article: "The death toll from medical errors in the U.S. is equivalent to three jumbo jets falling out of the sky and killing all the passengers on board every forty-eight hours." There would be a nationwide outcry if that was happening.
Why the difference? The airline industry is highly regulated. Every pilot error is studied and addressed by the industry. The health care delivery system, on the other hand, is not held accountable. Errors are not reported or, if they are, they are buried.
Part of the problem identified by the article is LACK OF TRANSPARENCY. Hospitals make errors in treatment and then charge the patient for cleaning up the errors they have made. And then sending their accounts to bill collectors when the patient cannot pay. And, there is no one looking over their shoulders to determine what could have been done to prevent the error in the first place.
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