Chances are, one of the most dangerous things you will ever do is stay overnight at a hospital.
If that sounds alarmist, it’s because the numbers are truly alarming: A recent study of Medicare participants found that, in a single month, one of every 17 hospital patients was injured or killed by a preventable medical error. Many more Americans are hurt by unsafe drugs and medical devices.
Given the staggering injury and death rate, it’s shocking that some members of Congress want to shield from accountability those in the medical field who are responsible for harm.
They’re pushing H.R. 5, and overreaching bill that would immunize practically the entire medical industry from responsibility when their defective products or services hurt people. If it passes, the costs of medical mistakes would shift from the negligent actors to injured patients, their families, and taxpayer-funded health and disability programs.
Only an extremely small number of doctors are responsible for most medical errors. Just 5 percent are responsible for more than half of all medical errors. Those doctors should be held responsible for their actions – not given a free pass. The same goes for drug companies and medical device manufacturers.
Instead of attacking patients’ rights, Congress should focus on improving patient safety and reducing deaths and injuries. H.R. 5 does neither. But Public Citizen’s research has shown that 10 basic safety measures would save, conservatively, $35 billion and 85,000 lives a year.