Medical Errors: Can You Believe These Numbers? - New York News

Medical Errors: Can You Believe These Numbers?

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The robot was definitely high tech. In a hospital room at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Westwood, this electronic gadget with a robotic 'head' popped up out of its canister, and blasted the room with a purple tinged ultra violet light to sanitize the entire area. 

It was an example of innovation in patient safety. Another nurse showed off a more common yet still technical advance, the use of a scanner to track medication and match it to the bar code on the patient's wrist. The whole concept is to reduce what's termed ''medical error'', which , incredibly, cause more than 300, 000 deaths in this country every year in hospitals from coast to coast. This makes it, according the the CDC, the third leading cause of death , after heart disease and cancer. 

California Senator Barbara Boxer , after hearing about a constituents loss of a daughter due to medical error, has taken on this cause and had a highly publicized and orchestrated tour of UCLA 's medical center this morning to publicize this problem, and also to talk about solutions. Everyone, from the head of UCLA Medical Systems to the head of the 400 member California Hospital Association talked the good talk and agreed to work together to continue to reduce these shocking numbers.  It was called a ''marathon'' which I didn't quite understand. Incredibly, the Hospital Association told me that hasn't been a ''high priority'' in the past.  It is now. If you've been in a hospital lately, you 've no doubt seen a lot of this technology in patient care.  But it doesn't have to be high tech.  Something as simple as making sure that everyone who comes in contact with a patient thoroughly washes their hands is very important to.  You think people would ''get that'' by now, apparently not. 
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