Hospitals leery of reporting serious errors

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 1, 2011
Hospital errors kill more people every year than car crashes, diabetes or pneumonia, according to federal government estimates. But Missouri hospitals don't want people to know when and where these mistakes happen -- and no law requires them to tell. They say patients are safer when hospitals can share that information among themselves without anyone pointing fingers. "Focusing on systems of blame and punishment rather than analysis and improvement are counterproductive to improving patient safety," said Michael R. Dunaway, a vice president in the St. Louis Metropolitan Hospital Council, in a letter to the Post-Dispatch. Advocates for transparency, though, question whether patients are safer.

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