KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Surgeons Make Thousands Of Errors Every Year

So-called 'never events' happen more than 4,000 times a year, according to a study by Johns Hopkins researchers. Another report finds health care workers just as likely as people they treat to be overweight, avoid the dentist, get sunburned and not wear seatbelts.

The Wall Street Journal: Surgeons Make Thousands Of Errors
They are known as "never events"—the kind of mistake that should never happen in medicine, like operating on the wrong patient or sewing someone up with a sponge still inside—yet new research suggests that they happen with alarming frequency. Surgeons make such mistakes more than 4,000 times a year in the U.S., according to a study led by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, published online in the journal Surgery (Landro, 12/19).

Reuters: Do Health Care Workers Practice What They Preach?
Health care workers may not always "practice what they preach" when it comes to keeping up to date with cancer screenings, maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking, a new study suggests. Researchers found people surveyed by phone who said their job involved direct patient care were just as likely to be overweight, avoid the dentist, get sunburned and not wear their seatbelt as those in other fields (Pittman, 12/19).

Medscape: Healthcare Workers Often Fail To Practice What They Preach
When it comes to healthy living, healthcare workers (HCWs) may not always be the best role models for their patients, the authors of a new study say. In a survey of 260,558 participants including 21,380 HCWs, the HCWs did not differ significantly from the general population in the likelihood of "having a recent Papanicolaou test or dental visit, ever having a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy, being overweight or obese, drinking and driving, failing to wear a seatbelt, smoking, using smokeless tobacco, engaging in [HIV] risk behaviors, getting sunburned, or being dissatisfied with life. Most surprisingly, female HCWs were significantly more likely to report not having a mammogram within the past 2 years," Benjamin K.I. Helfand, MSc, and Kenneth J. Mukamal, MD, MPH, from the Division of General Medicine and Primary Care, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, write in a research letter published online December 17 in the Archives of Internal Medicine (MacReady, 12/19).

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