Mother Jones magazine recently ran a story about a report from the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine stating, avoidable medical mistakes are the eighth leading cause of death in the U.S. This number surpasses those who die from car accidents, AIDS, and breast cancer.
According to this report there is no legal limit on the number of hours a doctor can work in a given 24 hour time span. 70% of surgeons "do not believe that fatigue affects their performance in the operating room," to quote Mother Jones.
There were 44,000 to 98,000 avoidable patient deaths in a recent year, in health care and there are no federal laws requiring hospitals to report deaths and injuries caused by error.
More accountability on the part of physicians, hospitals and health practitioners is definitely in order. Everyone else, in other lines of work, is held responsible for their actions, and are quick to be called on the carpet for any mistakes - and I am talking about mistakes that do not threaten anyone's life.
The fact that medical errors are the eighth-leading cause of death in the U.S. leads one to the obvious conclusion that tougher standards have to be enacted to prevent this from happening. Everyone fouls up on the job at one time or another, but when it comes to the medical profession, there should be very few errors made, and when they do occur, they should be of a nature that do not prove fatal.
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