WHO Claims Hospitals Are More Dangerous Than Airline Travel

According to a recent report in Medical News Today that our Baltimore medical error injury attorneys have been following, Professor Sir Liam Donaldson has been appointed as the new Envoy for Patient Safety for the World Health Organization (WHO). Donaldson recently stated, in an effort to highlight the fact that healthcare safety around the world needs to be improved, that going to the hospital is far more dangerous than flying on an airplane, as the WHO reports that millions of people die annually from medical errors associated with healthcare—far more, according to Donaldson, than accidents on planes.

In his striking comparison, Donaldson claimed that if a patient entered the hospital he would have a 1 in 10 chance of experiencing a medical error, with the chances of wrongful death due to medical error being 1 in 300. Donaldson then stated that in comparison, the risk of dying in a plane crash is far less—approximately 1 in 10 million.

Donaldson reportedly stated that in an effort to reduce the growing number of hospital related infections resulting in patient injury or harm that happen every year, patients need to ask questions and make sure that hospitals maintain the basic hygiene standards and conform to the WHO’s healthcare checklist to prevent medical error or patient illness or injury during surgical procedures.

According to the WHO statistics, 7 in 100 patients in the hospitals throughout developed countries experience infections linked to healthcare, whereas in developing countries this number increases to 10 patients in every 100. The risk of infection is directly tied to the length of time a patient stays in the hospital’s intensive care unit. The WHO figures show that risk of infection is lower in the United States than in Europe, but the death from hospital-acquired infection is higher. In the United States, 1.7 million hospital acquired infections reportedly happen every year, resulting in 100,000 deaths, and in Europe, 4.5 million hospital acquired infections happen every year, resulting in around 37,000 deaths.

Donaldson claimed that over 100,000 hospitals around the world follow the WHO’s surgical safety checklist, and that if followed properly, this could significantly reduce deaths due to medical error. As Envoy for Patient Safety, Donaldson will help promote patient safety around the world as a worldwide public health priority.

In Rockville, Maryland, contact our medical error injury lawyers today.

Hospitalization More Hazardous Than Flying On A Plane, Medical News Today, July 22, 2011

Related Web Resources:

World Health Organization, WHO

20 Tips to Help Prevent Medical Errors in Children: Patient Fact Sheet, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Medication Error Reports

Institute for Safe Medication Practices, (ISMP)

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