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Health Care Administration

The well-being of patients is their first priority,
right?

A reader wrote:

“My father got a class 4 bedsore in the ICU, and he was in the hospital for 9 months, with a bill of close to a million dollars (which the insurance paid). We had to sue to get the medical records. Basically, he wasn't being rotated every two hours, and this results in a bedsore. I talked to a nurse, and asked if there were hospital beds available that would automatically rotate the patient. I'm an engineer, and I can easily imagine such a machine. She said that there were, but they were much more expensive than regular beds.”

If the hospital had lost a million dollars, instead of making a million dollars, would they have felt it was worth getting a bed to prevent them? Or worth the time to have the nurses turn the patient often enough to prevent them?

“I used to work in automotive parts production. . . Of the people that die or are injured in auto accidents, only an infinitesimally small number are killed or injured due to the poor practice of the auto manufacturer. . . I remember being tangentially involved in a potential automotive recall situation. . . a faulty steering u-joint had been installed in a car, and a mechanic at the dealership discovered it. The owner of the car was told that his car needed work overnight, and the dealer gave him another car to drive. In the meantime, the faulty part was flown to our facility, and right after it got there, more than 50 engineers and others from the auto manufacturer, the supplier, and us as the sub-supplier got together. . . All the cars involved that were on dealer's lots were grounded until they could be checked. . . A silent recall went out notifying dealerships and auto repair places to check for presence of [a specific] weld if any of the affected cars came in for service. All this, and no one had been injured or killed. . .”

But in a hospital when a patient gets a life-threatening bedsore, one that keeps him hospitalized for 9 months and costs him a million dollars, the bed that would have prevented it in the first place, and that would prevent it from happening to future patients, is thought to be too expensive.

The patient community needs to collect all such information in order to be able to make decisions, about whether to seek care and where to get it, based on more than the recommendations of physicians who track none of this.

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If you want the indepth details of exactly what weld on what part, how it came to be a problem and what was done to make sure it wouldn't happen again, click here.