College Writing II
2 December 2009
Hospital negligence is a devastating problem plaguing hospitals, not only in America, but all over the world. The Institute of Medicine estimated a staggering 98,000 Americans die each year from preventable errors made by the hospital staff (Page 1). I wonder how nurses and doctors can make such careless, but vital mistakes. For instance, when my grandfather was in the hospital, the nurses gave him morphine three times, despite the fact that his chart clearly stated that his was allergic. I understand how a mistake like that could happen in an emergency room when time is of the essence, but my grandfather was lying idly in a hospital bed for months. A patient should enter a hospital feeling confident about the care that he or she is about to receive, not scared or doubtful. What is causing this decrease in quality healthcare, and what can be done to prevent these errors? Maybe if we are able to understand why this happens, the proper measures can be taken to correct this dangerous problem.
The Harvard Medical Practice Study addressed age discrimination as a cause of negligence. The study randomly reviewed 30,121 cases selected from 51 acute care, non-psychiatric hospitals in New York State in 1984. The goal was to discover the rate by which adverse events and negligence occur in hospitals (Brennan et al. 145). Although there was no significant variation between negligence and sex or race, there was a major difference in age. The rate of negligence for newborns is 20.8%, while that percentage increased to 33.1% for patients over 65 (148). The study mentions, however, that this percentage may be due to the severity of the illness, and more complicated intervention. On the other hand, negligence has no relation to the severity of the illness, because someone cannot be blamed if the inevitable occurs. The study concludes that this means “that the care for the elderly less frequently meets the standard...