OLYMPIA—In an effort to highlight awareness of medical errors and health-care caused infections that kill nearly 100,000 Americans annually, state Rep. Cindy Ryu (D-Shoreline) wants to establish an annual Patient Safety Day in Washington.
The annual celebration would coincide with World Patient Safety Day, which has been celebrated each July 25 since 2001.
“We could save thousands of lives and countless dollars by reducing deaths and injuries from medical errors and infections,” said Ryu. “The key is to heighten awareness of preventable threats that are killing and maiming patients.”
Rep. Cindy Ryu: http://www.housedemocrats.wa.gov/roster/rep-cindy-ryu/
World Patient Safety Day: http://www.patientsafetyday.com/
Consumers Union Safe Patient Project: http://safepatientproject.org/
New U.S. study on Medicare errors: http://oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/oei-06-09-00091.asp
According to Ryu, many hospitals, doctors and nurses are already working to create a culture of patient safety to reduce mortality and suffering from medical errors, but much work remains to be done.
A new study released Jan. 5 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that just 14 percent of the medical errors that harm Medicare patients are being reported by hospital staffs. Reporting rates were even lower for errors that led to permanent disability or death.
“The new study of medical errors in the Medicare system is an alarm bell we need to hear,” said Ryu.
Patient Safety Day is not new to Washington. Ryu was instrumental in persuading Gov. Chris Gregoire to issue a proclamation honoring the observance in 2011.
Ryu’s House Bill 2225 would ensure that Washington honors Patient Safety Day every year on July 25, “in memory of patients who have suffered from preventable medical errors, to honor all people who strive to improve medical safety, and to raise the awareness of the paramount importance of patient safety.”