‘One in 20 hospital deaths could have been prevented’

Around one in 20 hospital deaths are the result of mistakes which could have been prevented, according to new research into patient safety, quoted by the Volkskrant.

Two years ago, researchers put the preventable death rate at 4% – or 1,735 people – but the increase is not considered significant, the paper said.
‘But the figures do show it is a real problem,’ VU university professor Cordula Wagner told the paper. ‘There is something going on. It cannot be solved by separate measures. It needs an integrated approach.’
Complex problems
The researchers drew their conclusions after studying 4,000 patient files from 20 hospitals. Most problems relate to operations and medicines and patients often die because post operation complications are not noticed quickly enough.
Patient groups told the paper the figures are shocking. But Wagner said patients themselves are becoming more complicated to treat. ‘They have multiple problems, they are older and weaker. That is why hospital treatment is becoming more complex and the chance of something going wrong increasing.’

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