(NaturalHealth365) They are symbols of the latest advancements in Western medicine, where thousands flock every day in search of the highest level of medical care. Unfortunately, for one out of every 25 patients, that quest for treatment will instead lead to a hospital-related infection. According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 722,000 patients will fall prey to infection attributed to the care they receive in U.S. hospitals. Of those, 75,000 will lose their lives.
But hospital-borne infection is only a part of the story. An estimated 440,000 Americans are dying each year from preventable hospital errors – including injury, illness and infection, according to research by The Leapfrog Group. The sobering statistics sound the alarm for patients and their families to take drastic steps to protect their health.
Just as importantly, it serves as warning for hospitals to step up to the plate, recognize the horrific statistics, and do something to turn around this unacceptable trend.
Research reveals the lack of progress within ‘modern’ medicine
Unfortunately, progress by hospitals appears to be moving at a snail’s pace. Leapfrog, the organization responsible for the only nationally standardized and endorsed set of measures looking at hospital performance, has found that while hospitals appear to be making some headway in addressing errors, accidents, infections and injuries that kill or harm patients, that progress has been extremely slow.
Leapfrog assigns letter grades to more than 2,500 U.S. non-specialty hospitals, then tracks and compares those hospital rankings on a regular basis. Unfortunately, their conclusions show that action is still woefully lacking when it comes to hospitals addressing the medical error crisis. Their data can be found here.
The death statistics and healthcare costs are staggering
In statements made in 2013 following a disappointing update to hospital rankings nationwide, the organization’s leadership pointed out that the country was burying a population the size of the city of Miami every year due to preventable medical errors. While Leapfrog found that several hospitals moved upward by one or two grades, those efforts simply have not been enough nor have they been replicated by hospitals in the broad sense.
In a Senate subcommittee hearing in 2014, expert testimony concluded that medical errors cost not only in terms of human lives, but carried a heavy price tag as well, at an estimated $1 trillion annually. Testimony indicated 1,000 patients die every day from medical error, while another 10,000 experience serious complications.
A safe way to avoid life-threatening medical errors
While public pressure to improve patient safety may be effective in moving hospitals in the right direction, there are other measures you can take to safeguard your family from exposure to the risk of death or injury due to medical error. Perhaps the most direction solution is to avoid hospital care when at all possible.
In addition, there are countless natural remedies and changes in lifestyle that have been proven time and again to minimize the effects of disease. For example, foods and supplements high in antioxidants are effective in safeguarding against cell damage that can lead to disease. The three primary antioxidant vitamins include vitamin C, beta-carotene, and vitamin E. These vitamins are found naturally in colorful fruits and vegetables, as well as certain other foods.
But, when the need for surgery or other medical procedures arise, and there is no natural alternative, be sure the patient receiving medical care has a patient advocate. This person should be prepared to ask questions and monitor the administration of care to help reduce the risk of infection and injury.
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