Preventing children's hospital mistakes

Dr. Maura Shea examines patient Michelo Cineas at the Codman Square Health Center in Dorchester, Mass.

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: A study out this morning spells out the cost of medical mistakes at children's hospitals. It's in the Journal Pediatrics. Marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer has more.


Nancy Marshall Genzer: The researchers looked at more than 6,000 so-called "adverse events." Things like infections.

Doctor Samir Shah of Philadelphia Childrens Hospital led the study:

Samir Shah: If you had an infection caused by medical care, your total hospital charges were about $170,000 more.

An accidental laceration -- $34,000 more. The excess charges were for hospital rooms, nursing care and lab work.

Doctor Shah says these "adverse events" are preventable. What are we always telling our kids? Wash your hands. Same for physicians. But change is hard.

Brookings health care analyst Henry Aaron puts himself in a doctor's shoes.

Henry Aaron: I learned from the most respected physician in my field. And you're coming along and telling me that I've been practicing medicine in a way that puts my patients in jeopardy? Surely you must be kidding.

But doctors have a strong incentive now. Medicare is going to stop paying for preventable mistakes.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.

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