I often find myself coming back to this issue because it is so troubling – the third leading cause of death in America is, in fact, our nation’s healthcare. Patients are dying from the medical treatment itself versus the actual health issue they sought care for in the first place. Whether it be inappropriate medications, infections or surgical mistakes, the loss of life due to treatment that should be benefiting patients is disastrous.
The tragedy at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub was horrific, with 50 total deaths. Everyone can understand and see the sheer scale of the largest shooting in US history.
Our nation has 8,000 times that many people die each year from medical mistakes – or 400,000 deaths annually. That’s equivalent to 22 of these shootings…every single day of the year. These deaths may not be making daily headlines, but they are happening – one person at a time, one treatment at a time, all across the United States.
A recent news story on the subject shows how easily it can happen. If you watch this video, the story of how this child died is at the end of the clip. She was given the wrong medicine, a compound medication, 20+ times stronger than what she needed. The pharmacist signed off, without making it or reviewing it. Her father found the IV bag in the trash, so it’s likely nobody would have told him had he not caught it. It’s also very telling that his settlement would have been significantly higher had he agreed to a confidentiality clause, but he thought it was important for the memory of his daughter to speak out. These cases are usually not spoken about publicly.
I am a big proponent that less is usually more in healthcare. I am very proud of what we do at Rising. For patients involved in Rising’s medical care management, utilization review and surgical care programs, every unnecessary medical service we prevent could be the one that saves a life. Every surgery we keep out of a hospital can reduce the risk of error or infection and increase the odds of a successful recovery. There is no doubt that these precautions help reduce devastating health issues for our patients every day.