Imagine if someone in your family was diagnosed with a mental illness. Would you be happy to find them living on the streets, being bashed by street gangs and too terrified to even tell the police?
While the majority of elderly people state they want to die at home, only 14% will be granted their wishes. Over half will actually die in hospital, often in a noisy and impersonal environment.
Everybody makes mistakes during medical procedures. To err is human. But if errors aren't followed up, then a small problem can quickly become a life threatening one.
A surgeon with a severe drug addiction was allowed to operate on patients. After being banned from a public hospitals he was allowed to continue practising neurosurgery while high on cocaine, in a private hospital nearby.
Most people expect that pregnancy would be treated with great caution and any drugs prescribed during this period would be carefully vetted for side effects. Think again.
In the normal commercial world, private enterprise is reasonably transparent about cost and quality. However, in private healthcare there is no transparency about cost and quality. So bad services remain open, along with good ones.
Abuse in nursing homes has raised its ugly head again, with an article in this weekend’s Australian titled ‘Lethal care: Insulin murders’. The article documents serial murder, going on behind closed nursing home doors, by a small number of appallingly dysfunctional staff.
Hospital errors inevitably link back to lack of safety standards. These include adequate staffing levels, proper training and quality of hospital technology.