Hospitals are risky places for more reasons than you might think

A Grattan Institute Report has found that one in every nine patients who go into hospital in Australia suffers a complication.  When the patient stays overnight the figure increases to one in four.   

A complication is something preventable that goes wrong with the hospital’s care. You might develop an infection from a hygiene breach, for instance, or be given the wrong dose or type of drug.

The complication might be less direct, such as becoming malnourished because you haven’t been monitored well enough, or developing a pressure sore because you’ve spent too long in the same position in your hospital bed.

The consequences of these complications can be devastating leaving lives disarrayed due to the negligence of the hospital.

Alarmingly, the risk of developing a complication varies dramatically depending on which hospital you go to: in some cases, the additional risk at the worst-performing hospitals can be four times higher than at the best performers.

At present, a veil of secrecy hangs over which hospitals and clinicians have higher rates of patient complications and which are safety leaders. Hospital safety statistics are collected, but they are kept secret, not just from patients but from doctors and hospitals. 

Doctors and hospitals should have access to the information so they can see how they are performing compared to their peers – and so they can learn from the best-performing hospitals and clinicians.

Bernard McAuley

McAuley Hawach Lawyers

11 Fennell Street, Parramatta NSW 2124

Telephone: (02) 9633 1826

Facsimile: (02) 9687 8114 (02) 9687 8114



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