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Look-Alike Tubes Lead to Hospital Deaths

pickens (49171) writes | more than 2 years ago

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Hugh Pickens writes "In hospitals around the country nurses connect and disconnect interchangeable clear plastic tubing sticking out of patients' bodies to deliver or extract medicine, nutrition, fluids, gases or blood — sometimes with deadly consequences. Tubes intended to inflate blood-pressure cuffs have been connected to intravenous lines leading to deadly air embolisms., intravenous fluids have been connected to tubes intended to deliver oxygen leading to suffocation, and in 2006 a nurse at in Wisconsin mistakenly put a spinal anesthetic into a vein, killing 16-year-old who was giving birth. "Nurses should not have to work in an environment where it is even possible to make that kind of mistake," says Nancy Pratt, a vocal advocate for changing the system. Critics say the tubing problem, which has gone on for decades, is an example of how the FDA fails to protect the public. "FDA could fix this tubing problem tomorrow, but because the agency is so worried about making industry happy, people continue to die," says Dr. Robert Smith.""
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1 comment

Not the big problem, not the main problem (1)

Kurofuneparry (1360993) | more than 2 years ago | (#33346300)

Yep, I hear stories like these in medical school. Iatrogenic (caused by the medical system itself) injuries to the patient are a BIG problem, but this is just one type and honestly a rare type of problem. It's at the end of a long list of other problems. Should it be fixed? Yes, but the article is wrong about the source of the problem. Industry doesn't that much care if they have to color tubes a certain way. The FDA doesn't have that much bark or bite. The thing keeping us from progress? The medical community today doesn't self-regulate well enough and now government types (who can't possibly know what they're doing) are left as the common source to petition for improvement.

But that's not the main problem with medical care today (USA and elsewhere in the developed world). It's systemic failures: when a person from one department doesn't know what someone in another department is doing. That kills WAY more people. The article is on the right tract but is kind of a distraction from larger, more major problems.

Then again... I'm an idiot....

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