Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., today heralded a report detailing the most common and harmful errors in hospital care that lead to patient deaths, and praised UCLA Medical Center officials for taking steps to protect patients in their care.
Between 210,000 to 440,000 people die each year from preventable errors in U.S. hospitals, according to the report that was generated from a survey sent in February to 283 of the state's hospitals.
"I will not turn away from this challenge," Boxer said at a news conference at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. "... We have the opportunity to pull ... people back from disaster each year simply by preventing medical errors."
The survey asked hospital personnel to detail how they seek to reduce medical errors, especially taking measures to reduce hospital-acquired infections and adverse drug reactions.
"I urge those hospitals that chose not to respond to do so now," Boxer said. "This is not the time to sit back and do nothing when we have hundreds of thousands of people dying every year from these errors that could be prevented."
While Boxer turned up the heat on hospitals that did not respond to her survey, she praised UCLA Medical Center for its steps to protect patients.
Boxer took a tour of the hospital, which included demonstrations of a machine that uses ultraviolet light to decontaminate rooms, and a computer program that ensures patients receive the correct medication and dosage.
She pointed to the saying, "Whoever saves a life, it is as if that person has saved the whole world."
"And that's why what you are doing here today, everyday, to me, is really God's work," Boxer said. "And what you are doing on patient safety really adds to that."
--City News Service