What Others Are Saying

August 27, 2007

Maybe you won't get what Medicare won't pay for. The program plans to stop compensating hospitals for treating the results of preventable errors. Which is a way of saying, really, really stupid mistakes. Caused by really, really stupid or uncaring staffers. Examples: leaving a sponge or scalpel in a patient; administering the wrong blood type, medication or dosage; dropping a patient; or allowing a patient to develop bedsores.

Then there's the matter of infections that patients develop thanks to contaminated catheters or ventilators. Or simply because a doctor or nurse or orderly didn't bother to wash up. Yes, dear readers, studies have shown that hand-washing in hospitals is nowhere near what common sense says it ought to be.

Already, hospitals are carping that they will have to perform more tests on patients to make sure there are no pre-existing conditions or infections. It would be far better for them to join a growing national movement aimed at reducing avoidable injuries and infections. Especially since an estimated 99,000 Americans die annually of infections contracted at hospitals, far too many when basic hygiene can be a lifesaver.

-- New York Daily News

Hurricane Dean was a monster storm that did a great deal of damage, but nobody can say they were caught unaware. For that, the National Hurricane Center deserves recognition for a job well done. From the time that Tropical Depression 4 emerged 3,000 miles away from South Florida in the eastern Atlantic, until the time it blasted into Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula as a Category 5 hurricane, the folks at the hurricane center issued forecasts and projected tracks that were virtually dead-on in their accuracy.

This proves two things: Hurricane center tracking equipment is apparently working quite well, and personnel at the center have been able to put aside office disputes and concentrate on the job at hand.

-- South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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