Articles the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety (PPAHS) has been reading this past week provide cause for concern about our healthcare system.
The Cause of the Opioid Epidemic – When Profit is More Important Than People
Information obtained from a legal challenge from The Washington Post and the owner of the Charleston Gazette-Mail in West Virginia has revealed disturbing details of the cause of the opioid epidemic. According to the Washington Post:
“The origin, evolution and astonishing scale of America’s catastrophic opioid epidemic just got a lot clearer. The drug industry — the pill manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers — found it profitable to flood some of the most vulnerable communities in America with billions of painkillers. They continued to move their product, and the medical community and government agencies failed to take effective action, even when it became apparent that these pills were fueling addiction and overdoses and were getting diverted to the streets …
“It appears that failures mark every point along the supply chain — from manufacturers to distributors to pharmacies to the doctor all too ready to write a script. The epidemic was not something out of sight, behind closed doors, under a bridge. In full view, it intensified and the companies, health care professionals, law enforcement officials and government regulators were unable or unwilling to stop it.”
1 in 20 Patients Experience Preventable Harm while Receiving Medical Care
A study recently published in the BMJ looked at 337,025 patient cases from countries around the world. This extensive study found that:
“About 1 in 10 patients experience some kind of harm while receiving medical care and in about half of those cases — 1 in 20 — the harm is preventable.”
Are Most U.S. Hospitals Not Meeting Surgical Safety Standards?
According to research by The Leapfrog Group:
“The vast majority of participating hospitals do not meet The Leapfrog Group’s minimum hospital or surgeon volume standards for safety, nor do they have adequate policies in place to monitor for appropriateness”
Will There be a Shortage of Primary Care Doctors in the United States?
Kaiser Health News reports that there may be a shortage of primary care doctors in the future:
“Despite hospital systems and health officials calling out the need for more primary care doctors, graduates of U.S. medical schools are becoming less likely to choose to specialize in one of those fields.”
Are Orthopedic Surgeons Prescribing More Opioids Than Needed after Surgery?
According to research conducted at Johns Hopkins University, “orthopedic providers routinely prescribed more opioids than required by patients who underwent multiple orthopedic surgical procedures.”