July 4, 2008
AIKEN, SC – The Cover America stopped in Aiken, South Carolina to join local residents for a special Patient Safety Day barbecue held in honor of those who have been harmed by medical errors and those working to improve patient care. The event was organized by Dianne Parker in memory of her late husband Willie Parker, who died from multiple medical errors and hospital acquired infections following surgery in 2002.
“Stories like Willie’s remind us that medical errors and hospital infections are far too common and can have devastating consequences,” said Meg Bohne, Campaign Organizer for Consumers Union. “Medical errors and hospital infections take tens of thousands of lives, cause untold injuries and suffering, and cost the healthcare system billions of dollars.”
The Cover America Tour, sponsored by Consumer Reports Health, is making its way across the country this summer by RV to listen to Americans talk about their experiences with our nation’s healthcare system. As the tour crew travels from coast to coast, they’re posting videos of people talking about the challenges they’ve experienced getting affordable, high quality healthcare and blogging about what they’re hearing at www.CoverAmericaTour.org.
More than 2.6 million hospital patients are the victims of infections and medical errors every year and almost 200,000 of them die. This makes medically-induced harm – errors and hospital acquired infections – the third leading cause of death in the United States behind heart disease and cancer.
Adverse drug events with hospital patients are common and occur when mistakes are made procuring the drug, prescribing it, dispensing it, administering it, and monitoring its impact. On average, a hospital patient can expect to be subjected to more than one medication error each day according to the Institute of Medicine.
The Patient Safety Day event included a presentation by Senator Ralph Anderson of a joint resolution adopted by the South Carolina General Assembly designating July 4 as Patient Safety Day in Willie’s name. There also was a reading of names of some of those who have been injured or killed as a result of medical errors and hospital acquired infections and a wall of photographs of some of those harmed by unsafe care.
South Carolina is among 23 states in the U.S. that have recently passed laws requiring hospitals to disclose the rate at which patients develop certain infection during treatment. South Carolina’s legislation was sponsored by Senator Anderson. By making infection rates public, reporting laws like South Carolina’s are designed to help consumers find out their local hospitals infection prevention track record and to provide hospitals with an added incentive to improve patient care.
ConsumerReportsHealth.org is an informative web site published by Consumers Union that provides a rich array of research and recommendations about healthcare and healthy living. The web site aims to answer pressing health questions – from which diet plan is rated best to cost-effective alternatives to different prescription drugs – and to provide advice about making better healthcare decisions.
Meg Bohne: 516-528-9293 (cell)