Dead on the National Health


Among the black magic powers of the State are to be found the hospitals. They operate with discretion and without pausing to improve the coffers of INPS {Pensions Body}. They practise euthanasia from inefficiency.
Itís a particularly Italian approach. They canít be taken to court, but it produces great results, above all for elderly patients. They say that 90 patients a day, die from medical errors in hospitals. I donít believe that. I donít want to believe it. Itís a ridiculous number.
There must be many more. However no one really knows how many there are. There arenít official statistics. Itís best not to know. Last year the Istituto Superiore di Sanitŗ {Institute for Health} tried to measure mortality from bypass operations in the heart surgery centres.
The only result was an Italian riot. A series of litigation cases.
However there is one certain fact. And it is that out of every two patients in the world who die because of medical errors, one could have been saved. Taking the number of 90 dead a day as accurate multiplied by 365 days. Thatís an annual total of 32,850. Saveable: 16,425. The equivalent of about 30 rigid inflatables coming to Lampedusa. Donald Berwick of the Institute for Health Care Improvement, a non-profit agency, has demonstrated this with the initiative Ď100,000 livesí.
In the 3,000 American hospitals that took part, the mortality fell dramatically. 120,000 fewer deaths compared to the previous 18 month period.
It doesnít take much to save a life. There have been hardly any recorded cases of pneumonia caused by mechanical ventilation pneumonia thanks to the simple measure of keeping the patient with the head of the bed raised. The staff have committed to washing hands before touching catheters. An aspirin has been prescribed before discharging heart attack patients.
What do we prefer, reduce taxes o hang on to a multitude of pensioners? Iím not sure, but Iím a bit sorry for the patients. Thus Iím asking Berwick to come and meet me, to meet up with some heads of Italian hospitals and repeat his initiative. Then, if we succeed, weíll do it ourselves. RESET!

PS: in collaboration with

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 11:33 PM in | Comments (9)
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Posted by: D. van Herk | November 1, 2006 04:49 PM

My relatives tell me that when doctors work for the Mutua they refuse to examine their patients limiting themselves to handing out a prescription. The same doctors will suggest that the patients go to see them in their private office and pay dearly for an informed opinion and a complete visit. How can this be tolerated? No wonder the Italian medical system is in tatters.

Posted by: Enrico Rossi | October 31, 2006 04:53 AM

One of the biggest problems,and I talk about australia,but I think this is a widespread think occuring all the time in every hospitals,is that do to lack of doctors, doctors shift are very very long,in the news last night they were talking, that is pretty normal for a doctor to start is shift friday mornig and end monday ,without any break,now I wonder what kind of superhuman(beside mothers)can work 3 day straight,no sleep and not making mistakes,here we are dealing with human life,those things should not happen.Prince sorry for your mom.

Posted by: evakulnura | October 30, 2006 10:33 PM

Prince: I will NEVER forget the time as your mom died.
It will remain printed in my memory for ever and ever... like the butterfly I saw this night.
A little thought to her.

Posted by: Raffaella Biferale | October 30, 2006 07:00 PM

Problem is that nurses and doctors like their status and to put people down.
A certain number of them are like Auschwitz doctors that don't care about life and deal with patients like they are cars or faucets.
I got an open wound regarding the last days of my mom, where she has been released from the hospital while she still didn't feel right.
She went back home, a couple of days later she fell and hit the head while nobody was there and went at the hospital again.
A couple of days later she died because of her cancer that was devouring her.
I'm not saying that she would be still alive today but that fall pushed everything farther.
I hope for that ER doctor to never have a chance to meet him in a dark alley because I would not know what I would do to him.
MF'ers like him should be removed from their job because they don't give a shit about human life.
May he burn in Hell.

Posted by: Giovanni Principe | October 30, 2006 06:49 PM

90 people a day sounds too many. This situation needs to be clarified and resolved, if there is a real problem.

Posted by: Alex R | October 30, 2006 04:13 PM

Certainly things could be improved.

However, one thing that we tend to forget is that doctors are human also. They make mistakes, make a bad judgement, forget something small, just like anyone here has done in the past. Their problem is the fact that the things they work on aren't cars, or tax returns, or computers, but people.

Certainly, when it's said that a death is avoidable, sometimes it's due to something banal. Other times, it's due to something a doctor might not have known, or might not have taken into account. In the end, though, this number remains under the avoidable deaths column.

I'm not here trying to say that they shouldn't try harder, or they shouldn't be held to higher standards, but one can't lose sight of the fact that in the end, doctors and nurses are just normal people who took a different course at university than you.

Posted by: Nick W | October 30, 2006 04:10 PM

I am an American. I have never visited Italy, although I hope to one day.

I have been reading this blog for one week. I find the information very interesting and have subscribed to receive the blog on an ongoing basis.

With this blog I am getting to know a warm, caring, energetic people who are frustrated. I wish you good fortune as you deal with the problems discussed on these pages. Please be tolerant, fair, gracious and helpful to the weak and needful.

- cw

Posted by: Charlie Willey | October 30, 2006 03:22 PM

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