Patient Safety Isn’t Foolproof 2-07

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THE World Patient Safety Day will be observed on Thursday. The observance  aims at touching all contentious issues related to patient safety. Public awareness, engagement and understanding go a long way in achieving the World Health Organisation’s intended objectives to make every patient feel at home in trying circumstances. More than two million deaths are reported annually in the hospitals of low and middle income countries due to less than adequate safe healthcare. One in every ten patient deaths is directly attributed to adverse effects resulting from harmful healthcare and avoidable practices.  One in four casualties happen at the primary healthcare level. Fifty per cent of these are preventable, and therefore ways have to be found to undertake assured health practices. Errors may occur at any point in time; solidifying the system to ensure  flawless healthcare cannot be stressed more as patient harm is an outcome of mistakes going unnoticed at various levels of health delivery. Hospitals need to invest more in patient safety; investment on safety is far less than the cost of tackling adverse effects of health management of a patient. Healthcare infections leading to disastrous consequences for the patient form a considerable chunk – this is  preventable. Incorrect diagnosis and  illegible prescription, two oft notorious causes of patient hardship, cannot be viewed separately. Both health promotion and specific protection beg for an early detection. It has to be noted that occupational health disorders and diseases substantially increase the hospital load, and they can easily be  nipped in the bud. Many nations have significantly succeeded in doing that. But not India: improper  working conditions, irremediable exploitation of workers, insufficient protection at workplace, irregular supervision of workers’ disease symptoms are a few ‘unwritten rules’ that govern this country. Conditions are more stifling, and startling, in smaller enterprises. Sick employees, who otherwise are active, endanger the economic health of the country besides  putting their own families’ peace and prosperity at peril. The gross domestic product  of a country stands threatened in such an eventuality.

GANAPATHI BHAT, AKOLA