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Most Hospital Errors in Developing Countries Preventable

Last Updated: March 14, 2012.

Nearly 10 percent of patients admitted to a hospital in a developing country experience at least one adverse event, most of which are preventable and are largely due to inadequate training and supervision rather than an absence of resources, according to a study published online March 13 in BMJ.

WEDNESDAY, March 14 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly 10 percent of patients admitted to a hospital in a developing country experience at least one adverse event, most of which are preventable and are largely due to inadequate training and supervision rather than an absence of resources, according to a study published online March 13 in BMJ.

Ross M. Wilson, M.D., from the New York City Health and Hospital Corporation, and colleagues randomly sampled 15,548 patient records from 26 hospitals during 2005 in eight developing countries in the Middle East and Africa.

The researchers found that 8.2 percent of records showed at least one adverse event (range, 2.5 to 18.4 percent per country). Most (83 percent) were deemed preventable and about 30 percent were linked to patient death. About 34 percent were therapeutic errors that occurred under relatively non-complex clinical circumstances. Most adverse events were attributed to insufficient training and supervision of clinical staff, or failure to follow policies or protocols, rather than an absence of essential resources.

"Unsafe patient care represents a serious and considerable danger to patients in the hospitals that were studied, and hence should be a high priority public health problem," Wilson and colleagues conclude. "Prevention of these adverse events will be complex and involves improving basic clinical processes and does not simply depend on the provision of more resources."

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