Scared to Fly? Hospital Visits Far More Dangerous, WHO Reports

  on July 22 2011 2:23 PM

It is thought to be common knowledge that hospitals are a safe haven, a place to heal. But as it turns out, you might just be safer flying than in a hospital, the World Health Organization said Thursday.

Anywhere in the world, there is a 1 in 300 chance of dying from a medical error in a hospital. You're risk of dying in a plane crash? About 1 in 10 million passengers, according to Liam Donaldson, the WHO's newly appointed envoy for patient safety, Reuters reported.

It shows that health care general worldwide still has a long way to go, Donaldson said in a news briefing. Health care has not achieved the level of safety of many other high-risk industries.

In a report issued Friday, the WHO reported that medical error and infection rates run as high as 16 percent of all hospitalized patients across the globe. And the possibility of hospital infections and error varies from country to country, Postmedia News reported.

In Canada, for instance, the health care-associated infection rate is one of the worst among developed countries, with about a rate of 11.6 percent. The United States rate is as low as 4.5 percent; Europe has a rate of roughly 7 percent.

Death aside, hospital-acquired infections and medical mistakes can cause major health problems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that 10 percent of hospital -acquired infections are hospital -acquired bloodstream infections, which are considered the eighth leading cause of death in the U.S.

 

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