Las Vegas Sun

September 2, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Hospital employees should be vigilant

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A recent report, “Call to Action: Safeguarding the Integrity of Healthcare Quality and Safety Systems” is tragically revealing. The report cites incidence of hospital mismanagement, intimidation and retaliation against those who complain and staff whistle-blowers.

In one hospital, the most profitable surgeon had complication and mortality rates two to three times the national average. A staffer who complained to administration about it was asked to resign.

The 1999 Institute of Medicine report estimated that over 70,000 patients die every year in our country’s hospitals as a result of preventable errors. Further, a health care watchdog organization found 65 percent of hospitals do not have recommended policies in effect to prevent common infections. And 75 percent do not meet the standards for some practices, beginning with hand washing.

Some hospitals and doctors are guilty of premeditated health code violations. Such criminal actions are punishable under Nevada law.

The Sun’s prize-winning series “Do No Harm” found our own hospitals needed improvements. I salute the Sun for its vigilance in protecting our health and well-being. And I praise and encourage hospital staffers (anonymous when possible) and hospital whistle-blowers to continue exposing hospital health violations. The Hippocratic Oath is the standard all hospitals and doctors are to live by with patients.

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