A recent New York Times article reports that despite awareness of preventable measures, medical mistakes at hospitals seem to keep happening. The article claims "Many of the problems were caused by the hospitals’ failure to use measures that had been proved to avert mistakes and to prevent infections from devices like urinary catheters, ventilators and lines inserted into veins and arteries." The article also states "A recent government report found similar results, saying that in October 2008, 13.5 percent of Medicare beneficiaries — 134,000 patients — experienced “adverse events” during hospital stays. The report said the extra treatment required as a result of the injuries could cost Medicare several billion dollars a year. And in 1.5 percent of the patients — 15,000 in the month studied — medical mistakes contributed to their deaths. That report, issued this month by the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services, was based on a sample of Medicare records from patients discharged from hospitals."
Patients have to be their own second eyes and ears, and essentially partner with their doctors, about this.