Documentary on Medical Errors

TV can be good for you--make sure you tune in tomorrow night (Thursday) for this 4-part documentary--it's sure to be educational (plus, I don't think PBS will be running a fund drive, so they won't be interrupting every 10 minutes for a donation).

Four-part PBS series will explore medical errors
(taken from The Belleville News-Democrat by Roger Schlueter)

One million more are injured, many by drug-dosing errors like the ones that recently killed three premature infants in Indianapolis. In fact, it is estimated that medical errors kill as many people each year as breast cancer, AIDS and car accidents combined.

The four-part series will explore both the quality crisis and the innovative solutions being undertaken to improve the medical care patients depend on. The one-hour programs will be shown locally in Houston at 9 p.m. on Thursdays through Oct. 26 on Houston PBS Channel 8.

Each program will examine critical health-care issues facing the country today, including patient safety, medical and medication errors, hospital-acquired infections, family-centered care and effective management of chronic disease.

But rather than simply assign blame for the failings, the series spotlights solutions by showcasing the stories of individuals and institutions that are working to ensure better care.

Tomorrow night "First Do No Harm" will examine the impact of medical errors and patient safety in two hospitals. It will follow the efforts of doctors like Donald Berwick, founder and CEO of the Insitute for Healthcare Improvment, who are challenging their colleagues to live up to their medical school oath.

On Oct. 19, "The Stealth Epidemic" will take up the challenge of treating common chronic diseases that now affect nearly 100 million Americans. Conditions such as diabetes and heart disease now consume 70 percent of all health-care resources.

The final program, "Hand in Hand," will look at how doctors can retain the human touch even as medicine becomes more technologically sophistacated and complex. The show focuses on Julie Moretz, whose son Daniel was born with serious heart disease. She helped the Medical College of Georgia's Children's Medical Center change how it treats families to become a leader in patient- and family-centered care.

The show will be hosted by Peabody- and Emmy award-winning journalist John Hockenberry, who wound up needing intense medical care himself after an accident on the Pennsyvania turnpike left him a paraplegic in 1976.

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