Tuesday, September 24, 2013
I Call Bullshit
As the owner of my own medical practice, director of a nursing home, expert witness, and associate director for a hospice and palliative care company, I have vast experience dealing with the pitfalls of our medical system. After seeing thousands of patients, in almost every setting over the last seventeen years, I strongly question what I have been recently reading on my twitter feed.
According to a new study in The Journal of Patient Safety, preventable adverse events (PAEs) account for over 440,000 deaths a year in hospitals making medical error the third leading cause of mortality in the United States.
I call bullshit!
In my experience patients die of metastatic cancer, end stage dementia, coronary artery disease, stroke, and sepsis. Of the thousands of patients I have watched die, only a handful, at most, were complicated by preventable adverse events. And most of these happened in patients with highly involved, already terminal diseases, where the pure number of physicians and treatments multiplied the complexity.
I'm not saying that medical error doesn't occur. I'm not saying that we shouldn't have a robust bevy of researchers and experts studying the issue. None of us should rest knowing that our patients lives are at risk.
But I have to think that the extrapolations that led to this data set are faulty.
It just doesn't match what most of us are seeing in the trenches.
Posted by Jordan Grumet at 6:56 PM