Monday, July 27, 2009

It's 9/11 X 1.5

If all hospitals had to put up a sign out front revealing how many people died last year in its wards due to "errors" - that is dying from a condition they did not have when they entered the hospital - they would probably not be quite so crowded :

Hospital errors claim the lives of 4550 Australians a year, equivalent to the death toll from 13 jumbo jets crashing and killing all on board, says a report to the Government which urges sweeping reforms of the health system.

4550 sounds bad, obviously, because it is. It's fucking appalling. But does breaking that figure up into deaths per week read even more horrifying?

'The equivalent of 87 Australians dying in hospitals due to "errors" each and every week.'

87 "oh shit, they just died" deaths every seven days.

Per day?

'12 Australians die per day in hospitals due to "errors".'

12 people a day is a shocking lot, but 4550 deaths each year still reads more dramatic, even though it's the same thing.

....savings of $1 billion a year could be made if problems including hospital-borne infections, medication mix-ups, drug side effects and patient falls were only halved.

Such "adverse events" are estimated to have affected about 16 per cent of people admitted.

"Adverse events" = "Oh shit, someone fucked up."

It's easy to imagine that large city hospitals, trying to care for hundreds of people at the same time, battling rupturing budgets, lawsuits and MRSA bacterium invasions, will be history within the next couple of decades.

Get used to the words "Home Care" because it will soon be part of your medical reality, if it's not already.