Going into hospital far riskier than flying-WHO

Thu Jul 21, 2011 3:07pm GMT
 

* Hundreds of millions infected in health settings each year

* The longer the stay in intensive care, the higher the risk

By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA, July 21 (Reuters) - Millions of people die each year from medical errors and infections linked to health care and going into hospital is far riskier than flying, the World Health Organisation said on Thursday.

"If you were admitted to hospital tomorrow in any country... your chances of being subjected to an error in your care would be something like 1 in 10. Your chances of dying due to an error in health care would be 1 in 300," Liam Donaldson, the WHO's newly appointed envoy for patient safety, told a news briefing.

This compared with a risk of dying in an air crash of about 1 in 10 million passengers, according to Donaldson, formerly England's chief medical officer.

"It shows that health care generally worldwide still has a long way to go," he said.

Hundreds of millions of people suffer infections linked to health care each year. Patients should ask questions and be part of decision-making in hospitals, which must use basic hygiene standards and WHO's checklist to ensure safe surgical procedures were followed.   Continued...

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