Sunday, August 10, 2008

At the Top

Who are the people behind the big corporations being sued for injuring and killing hundreds of thousands of people each year? The pharmaceutical companies the healthcare workers, the hospitals? There are people who work in these industries who are truly trying to stop bad outcomes – most of the time.

Though they care, and they try, many of the people at the top are too disconnected from the people who touch the patients to truly understand what is happening every day to the patients. I want to care about the people who work in the industry. I really, really do want to care. Actually, I do care. But I just don’t think they are doing enough.

If the people at the top really wanted to see what is happening to their patients, they would spend time sitting in the lobbies and listening to conversations. They would take off the suit and tie and ask the security guard how to get to a room on the third floor. They would use the bathroom in the lobby of their facility and read the graffiti on the wall, see that there is no soap in the dispensers and see that the toilets are filthy early in the morning.

I went into one hospital bathroom and I swear there was a homeless person living there.

I sat with a representative of a major pharmaceutical company recently and he told me about the changes being made even before the newspaper story hit about a major error. They are still being sued even though the changes were started before this error occurred. I was glad to hear that they were taking patient safety so seriously but why did it take so long. Children die because of packaging errors and the problem gets changed. That’s what we want in patient safety right? But what does that do for the family who lost a child? Can you actually tell me this error never happened before? Or, is this the first time they were caught and forced to speed up the process of change.

A mom dies from an infection and the hospital is going to post the infection rates on their website. Does that bring back the mother to her young son?

We have the data to stop these medical errors and infections from happening. We must stop them from happening.

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