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Hospitals cut lethal error rates by implementing preventative measures

June 14, 2006 marked the deadline set 18 months ago by Dr. Donald Berwick, a Harvard professor who organized a campaign to prevent infections and mistakes in the nation’s hospitals.

Berwick challenged participating hospitals, who promised to implement at least some of 6 suggested steps to improve care as well as report mortality rates. The results show that an estimated 122,300 lives were saved at about 3,100 participating hospitals.

Some of the steps implemented included deploying rapid response teams to patients whose vitals drop rapidly, giving patients antibiotics before surgery to prevent infections, and encouraging lower ranking employees to call for help at the sign of trouble.

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