Air Transport World

You're safer on an airplane.(Editorial)

In an average year, approximately 98,000 Americans die from infections they acquire in hospitals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many and perhaps most of these deaths could be avoided if well-understood sanitary methods, such as proper sterilization of equipment and hand-washing, were followed. In addition to the toll from infections, medical mistakes kill 44,000-98,000 each year, states a report from the Institute of Medicine.


We don't know how these death rates measure up on a per capita basis against the health care systems of comparably developed nations. We do know that if we were sitting in the US Congress or the White House, and we were looking at picking the low-hanging fruit in eliminating mistakes and carelessness as a cause of human misery, suffering and death, we would probably want to do all we could to encourage hospitals to adopt things like mandatory standardized pre-operation checklists, incident-reporting systems and data-driven analysis to understand why mistakes occur and how to prevent them. …

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