U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Katherine Sebelius toured the Henry Ford Hospital today as part of the government's initiative to reduce patient care mistakes.
According to the Detroit News, Sebelius said:
"We spend way too many dollars on care that was not needed in the first place because we're trying to fix mistakes that shouldn't have happened in the first place," she said during a roundtable discussion.
I remember going into the hospital to have an operation on my left knee awhile back. Nurses put a sleeve over my right leg, and it seemed like a dozen different doctors and nurses asked me which leg was being operated on.
"Don't they know?" I thought.
Then I realized they were going through a system of checks and balances to make sure doctors cut open the correct leg.
If they cut open the wrong leg, it would have been bad, but at least I would have survived.
A 1999 Institute of Medicine study estimated that as many as 98,000 Americans die every year from preventable medical errors, and the government says that number didn't improve much in the following decade.