Medical errors in the US cost lives of 100,000 patients every year

Participants at a conference on patient safety and quality healthcare at Fiapre in the Brong Ahafo Region were at the weekend hit with a report by the Institute of Medicine that each year close to 100,000 people die in United States hospitals due to medical errors.

The participants at the conference organised by the Ghana Quality Organisation (GQO), an NGO, included regional and district directors of health services, medical superintendents, private medical and dental practitioners and journalists.

The NGO collaborated with the Ghana Medical and Dental Council, Ghana Health Service and Food and Drugs Board to organise the workshop.

Mr. Anthony Ameka, National Co-coordinator of the NGO who disclosed the report by the Institute in his welcoming address, noted that if the US acclaimed as the richest nation on earth and leads the world in medical science, “then how many people die or get injured in Ghana each year because of medical mistakes?”

He noted that the answer to this worry did not only lie with the infusion of more money into the nation’s health care system, nor more infrastructure, increases in the number of doctors and nurses and their salaries, but rather “the need for quality techniques and tools to help us reduce the waste and increase efficiency in the system”.

The National Co-coordinator explained that the key objective of the conference, therefore, was to assist healthcare professionals and workers to build quality management skills and capabilities to improve patient safety and speed patient recovery process.

Understandably, this conference alone will not achieve this noble objective. GQO is going to organise series of workshops, seminars and conferences to achieve this objective, Mr. Ameka added.

He expressed the hope that the participants would learn new quality techniques and understandings that would enable them to enhance patient safety.

Professor John Dzissah of the University of Wisconsin-Stout in the United States and a facilitator at the conference said, Ghana needed to make an effective and efficient approach in the control of medical device products into the country.

Speaking on Improving Patient Safety through the Control of Medical Device Products in Ghana”, the Ghanaian associate professor called for a strong regulatory body that would supervise and ascertain the viability of medical products imported into the country.

“We need a system that will gather information on complaints from patients in developing countries, so manufacturers can be alerted about deficiencies in imported devices,” he explained.

Professor Dzissah stated that care providers, including hospitals, clinics and maternity homes must also report unsafe devices or problems associated with the devices for the necessary reforms to be made.

He added that regulatory bodies must also be strengthened to ensure that obsolete and unsafe medical equipment was not imported into the country.

Source: GNA

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