Proposed Legislation in Hawaii Aims to Protect Patients
Legislators in Hawaii are currently working to pass a bill that will help to reduce the number of patients harmed by errors made by staff working in hospitals.
According to a press release sent out by the Safe Patient Project, the bill known as SB705, if passed, will require hospitals to publicly report information regarding any medical error made on the premises.Forcing hospitals to make public reports will give patients the opportunity to research a facility's record before making a decision to go there for care. While this may not necessarily be helpful for those in emergency situations, it can certainly be valuable to those who are planning routine medical procedures or surgeries. Even those who may never go to the hospital can add a list of hospitals they do not want to visit to their emergency contact lists.
Research conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services in 2010 indicated that more than 180,000 Medicare patients die from medical errors and hospital-contracted infections each year. Those who do not die add $4.4 billion to the cost of patient care each year. Add those who are privately insured to the mix and those numbers are bound to increase dramatically.
Medical errors can be made at any point during your hospital stay. Your doctor may read the wrong chart. Your nurse may give you the wrong medication. The surgical tech in the room during your procedure may miscount the supplies, allowing something to be left inside your incision after a procedure.
No matter what the cause, you have the right to know what hospitals have the most issues and which are safest to visit. Hawaii legislators have the opportunity to set an example for the rest of the world.