Hero Pilot Lobbies For Reduction Of Medical Errors


Posted on 6th August 2013 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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If 20 jets were crashing every week, there would be a national uproar, with planes grounded and airports shut. Yet medical errors kill the same equivalent of people, 200,000 each year, and nothing is done.

That is exactly what Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the hero who safely landed a jet on the Hudson River in 2009, told Politico.com. Sullenberger may be retired, but he is still busy. He has mounted a crusade to reduce the number of medical errors in the United States.


According to Politico.com, Sullenberger is lobbying in Washington and lecturing across the country to bring about changes to cut down on medical mistakes — and save lives. For example, he recently was a featured speaker at the American Hospital Association’s annual summit in San Diego.

One of Sullenberger’s recommendations is that the aviation practice of going through checklists before taking off be applied to medical care and procedures. That makes a lot of sense to me.

The hero pilot is also pressing for more accurate records on medical mistakes and a non-accusatory approach to dealing with them. The idea is to find what led to the error, not crucify the doctors and nurses involved.

Sullenberger is seeking quick change and improvements to patient safety. I hope someone in Washington listens to him.

Study Finds That Patient Safety Remains An Issue At Hospitals


Posted on 26th November 2010 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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Call me a cynic, but this headline doesn’t surprise me: “Study Finds No Progress in Safety at Hospitals.”


In a Page One story this week The New York Times reported that a new study — which tracked 10 North Carolina hospitals from 2002 to 2007 — determined that patients were fairly commonly harmed, and those incidents were not declining. 

Complications from procedures and drugs, as well as hospital-acquired infections, were the culprit in most cases, according to The Times.

Ironically the study, led by Dr. Christopher Landrigan of the Harvard Medical School, was conducted in North Carolina because hospitals there have instituted a lot of programs to improve patient safety. Instead, the research determined that roughly 18 percent of the patients were harmed by their medical care, and 63.1 percent of their injuries were considered preventable, according to The Times. Some 2.4 percent of the problems caused or contributed to a patient’s death.

The preventable problems included: bad bleeding during an operation; breathing problems caused by a procedure that was not done correctly and a hip dislocation caused by a fall.

The North Carolina hospitals that were part of the study were not named. That was lucky for them, since the research found 588 cases where a patient was harmed by medical care, or 25.1 injuries per 100 admissions, according to The Times. 



The study was published this week in The New England Journal of Medicine.