InHealth: Clean Your Hands Day, medical errors and Mother's Day charity

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Washed Up
While you’re mashing up avocados and prepping margaritas, consider also celebrating the simple act of washing your hands. May 5 is the World Health Organization’s Save Lives: Clean Your Hands day. For those who work in healthcare, it’s a good reminder that simply washing your hands may be the most important thing you can do for your patients. If you’re on the receiving end of care, don’t be shy about requesting your providers to wash their hands. Worldwide, more people die from hospital-acquired (“nosocomial” in medical parlance) infections than from AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis….combined. Here in the U.S. nosocomial illnesses kill a shocking 200,000 people a year. This despite the fact that according to WHO, “Most health care-associated infections are preventable through good hand-hygiene.” See more at cleanhandssavelives.org.

Oops.
In other bad news, a new study in the BMJ estimates that medical errors now kill more people than respiratory diseases in the United States. While heart disease (number one killer) and cancer (number two) get all the media-love, researchers say medical errors cause a whopping’ 9.5 percent of all deaths each year, and rank third on the list of big-time heath risks. The study's authors make a pitch for better reporting of medical errors to get a handle on the problem. Commenting on the report in Medscape Medical News, Jim Rickert, president of the Society for Patient Centered Orthopedics says the numbers don’t surprise him, adding, “That doesn’t even include doctors’ offices and ambulatory care centers…I think most people underestimate the risk of error when they seek medical care.” For the morbidly curious, death from COPD ranks fourth, suicide fifth, firearms sixth, and motor vehicles seventh.

Tea Time
Mother’s Day is on Sunday so why not do something memorable and charitable by treating your mom, or any nurturing person in your life, to a four-course Tea Lunch, complete with a silent auction and vintage fashion show, on Saturday at the Davenport Grand Hotel? Tickets are $50 to $85 and the event appropriately benefits the Women’s and Children’s Free Restaurant and Community Kitchen. Go here or call 324-1995 ext. 303.