Are hospitals safe places?
That seemingly innocuous query is in fact a loaded question and a sure debate starter among commentators who routinely weigh in on the medical industry.
There is no question, of course, that medical facilities in Missouri and across the country are venues in which doctors routinely save patients' lives. On the other hand, though, evidence abounds -- with data being disclosed by diverse and broad-based sources -- that hospitals and clinics can be very dangerous places indeed for patients seeking medical care.
Myriad studies over the years have estimated that high numbers of patients -- potentially hundreds of thousands, in fact -- die annually form preventable medical error after being admitted to American hospitals. Mistakes run a wide gamut, ranging from surgical error and medication mistakes to facility-acquired infections and wrong/delayed diagnosis.