By Jim Klein for APRA.
- Hundreds of thousands of people are dying needlessly and millions more are being injured in hospitals every year due to a hidden epidemic of preventable medical errors and harm*
- Hospitals earn more money by treating the complications that result from preventable errors so patient safety is not a priority and they won’t take responsibility for harm done, be transparent, or make meaningful change
- Since people don’t know what’s going on at their local hospital they don’t take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their family from preventable harm
- Local media companies profit from hospital advertising so they won’t investigate or report about the preventable deaths and injuries that are happening
- As a result MORE people die needlessly.
For more than two hundred years it has been traditionally understood by the American people that healing the patient comes first with doctors.
In most cases this still remains true but unfortunately, because of circumstances beyond the control of the medical professional, doctors are beginning to place their interests before the patients in order to be able to continue practicing.
Due to the increasing control that health insurers and hospitals are exerting over doctors, they must now treat more and more patients in less and less time, surrendering to a system that rewards practice size and association rather than quality of healthcare.
The Hippocratic oath states that a doctor must never cause harm to a patient, however increasingly the health or financial well-being of the patient is at risk due to lack of treatment, in the case of uninsured or under-insured patients, or over-treatment in the case of insured patients.
The healthcare system has become one which is adversarial rather than co-operative and collegial. Doctors are pitted against health insurers, the federal government and hospitals that may employ them, who wish to reduce the physicians income in order to increase their bottom line or reduce deficits. Patients seek honest, reliable and skilled doctors who, in too many cases, cannot justify the time needed to adequately treat anyone with uncommon or unusual symptoms due to the diminishing financial return for time spent.
Patients have no legal protection and few rights when it comes to healthcare. The last patient rights bill to be proposed to Congress (2001) was defeated because it was opposed by the health insurance industry. Even with Obamacare and Medicare Americans risk losing their life or life savings each time they, or a family member, end up in the hospital, which is an average of four times after retirement. When problems arise they must fight health insurers, hospitals and doctors, often on their own.
We urgently need your support to fight these wrongs. If you are not yet a member of APRA please join today. Preferred membership is free.
Updated May 27, 2019
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