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Mistakes, poor hygiene common in hospitals

The Local · 10 Jan 2011, 08:58

Published: 10 Jan 2011 08:58 GMT+01:00

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Germany along with other countries needed a stronger system to monitor medical mistakes in hospitals, as well as better hospital management and a system of remedial training for medical staff, EU health commissioner John Dalli said.

“Every tenth treatment in European Union hospitals causes harm to the patient. Many of these medical mistakes are avoidable,” Dalli told daily Die Welt.

“We are calling for medical treatment mistakes to be recorded by the responsible authorities, for complaints to be made easier and compensation to be guaranteed for those affected.”

One of the major factors is simple hygiene, which often falls below even the most basic standards, said the German Society for Hospital Hygiene’s spokesman, Klaus-Dieter Zastrow, who is also hygiene specialist at Berlin’s Vivantes Hospital.

“The minimum standards of hygiene are not adhered to in many medical procedures. Many people die who don’t have to die,” he told the paper.

In Germany it is often exceedingly difficult for patients to pursue damages for medical mistakes, critics say. One reason is that there is no law guaranteeing patients’ rights.

The Bundestag’s commissioner for patients, Wolfgang Zöller of the Christian Social Union, said: “I would like a patients’ rights law, through which the patient can become more of a partner in the health system.”

Zöller said he also wanted a register for hospital mistakes.

“We need a new culture for dealing with errors in medicine.”

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Doctors groups, however, have warned against allowing the health system “to fall into roles of victims and perpetrators.”

The German Medical Association has argued that individual patients’ rights are “satisfactorily” covered by insurance contracts governing medical treatment.

The Local/djw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:42 January 10, 2011 by TheSavageLegend
They could start with putting on a pair of latex gloves before interacting with the paitent, I always wonder if they washed thier hands after using the toilet. You copy that Mr. Dentist?
16:18 January 10, 2011 by marimay
Ewww! I suggest you find another dentist.... what the hell!

I think doctor and dentist offices here are too warm and the summer they can even be hot.. who knows what they are incubating in there.
16:43 January 10, 2011 by LancashireLad
I recently had to decide between staying public or going private as regards health insurance. My colleague has a friend who works in a hospital who told her that one difference between public and private insurance is that private insurances often stipulate that the patient must be treated by a chief surgeon. The problem is that because of a chief surgeon's other duties he (she) quite often hasn't performed an operation in a number of years and is "a bit out of practice".

Food for thought.
17:37 January 10, 2011 by DinhoPilot
20:53 January 10, 2011 by maxbrando
This is the best that socialized medecine can be in Europe. If you now p... the Doctors off, you will be in real trouble!!!
21:14 January 10, 2011 by drcasaubon
One needs to find a middle ground. In the US the excesses of the tort system are a major driver of health care costs and are also driving doctors out of the profession whereas in Europe my impression is that there are often few avenues of recourse. It won't be easy to make health care providers more accountable without creating a culture of lawsuits. Better reporting and more transparency would be a useful start.
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