Dr. Kevin Kavanagh of Somerset, Kentucky is chairman of Health Watch USA and he recently wrote an interesting article for Kentucky.com entitled, "Ky. Voices: More scrutiny on spread of infections; health care industry resists surveillance." He writes:
"I am not sure what caught my eye first, since the story of a Mexican-American mother from Phoenix taking her child out of a hospital against medical advice raised so many ethical issues and questions. I kept wondering if this story was not about the reported financial issues and the cost of care, but about a scared mother who took her child away from a health care system where the child lost her arm due to a health-care associated infection, and then fled to Mexico in an attempt to receive safer health care.
The child had leukemia so was probably in frequent contact with the medical profession and prolonged hospitalizations. Thus, I feel the question that must be asked, Was this a very tragic health-care associated infection? The mother reportedly thinks so." (See: http://nbclatino.com/2012/12/04/parents-of-sick-girl-taken-from-phoenix-hospital-say-they-took-her-to-mexico-to-save-her-life/)
We may never know the truth. A federal law called HIPAA is currently in place that protects patients by preventing disclosure of their private medical information. This same law can also hurt patients by providing health care facilities an impenetrable shield that protects them from public scrutiny of their medical mistakes.
Dr. Kavanagh says that the American public is slowly coming to terms with the fact that not all of its health care facilities are safe and that they are places where you have one chance in 20 of acquiring an infection. Infections are amongst the many other adverse events that can occur. In many areas of the United States, the war against health-care acquired infections risks being lost.
Dr. Kavanagh writes, "If the health-care industry continues along its present path of only acting if everyone and everything is in agreement, including unreliable studies, then we are all in trouble."
The US spends more on healthcare than any other nation but Americans—including those with health insurance, college educations, high-income or healthy habits—contract more diseases, are injured more, or die earlier than the inhabitants of other high-income countries. See: http://www.examiner.com/article/us-health-compared-internationally-shorter-lives-poorer-health
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