23 December 2008

Brilliant entrepreneur asks: "So why CAN'T you fix this?"

Constant readers, you'll note that posting has slowed down a bit: I am deep into a chapter that is giving me some difficulty. (And I seem to be playing holiday host to an unexpected bout of bronchitis. I'm sure I didn't need both lungs...)

But here's something that crossed my monitor this morning, and it's worth looking at. Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Air and many other extremely successful entrepreneurial efforts. has accepted a post as vice-president of the Patients Association, a nationwide nonprofit that advocates for hospital patients in the UK. Speaking up in his new position, Branson gave an interview to the BBC in which he talked about hospitals' failure to curb MRSA:
It feels like they have tinkered with the problem rather than really got to the heart of the problem. The hospitals are there to cure people. They are not there to kill people.
It's a marvelous interview — read the whole thing, it's not long — because it's such a breath of fresh air. Branson is an outsider to health care, but he knows how to make businesses work. And as the head of an airline, he's extremely familiar with what we in the US call "never events":
Sir Richard says the health service could learn a lot from the airline and rail industries on how to avoid mistakes."In the airline industry if we had that kind of track record we would have been grounded years ago," he said."In the airline industry if there is an adverse event that information is sent out to every airline in the world. And every airline makes absolutely certain that that adverse event doesn't happen twice."
So his advice is brutally practical: Health care workers carry MRSA? Screen and swab them. Workers are positive for MRSA? Treat them, and take them out of direct patient contact for two weeks. That costs money? Spend the money: It's less costly in the end than killing your patients.

2 comments:

Busy Mom said...

This is a great site. My father has delt with 5 serious bouts of MRSA and I am disgusted with the way that the hospitals and Drs seem to NOT know how to handle it, one thing that needs to be done desperately in our state is awareness and education. Health care workers do not know how to handle this.

Anonymous said...

MY MOTHER IN LAW RECENTLY HOSPITALIZED UPON ADMISS. WAS POSITIVE FOR MRSA,COLONIZED. TOLD TO ENTER ROOM WITH MASK,GLOVE,GOWN. HOWEVER, STAFF REPEATEDLY ENTERED ROOM TAKING NO PRECAUTIONS AT ALL! MOVED TO REHAB AND EVEN WORSE, WE WERE TOLD IT IS NOT CONTAGIOUS,SHE IS ONLY COLONIZED!!! THESE SAME PEOPLE GO HOME TO THEIR FAMILY & FRIENDS. I FOUND HEALTHCARE WORKERS TO BE THE LEAST INFORMED. WHY WOULD THIS BE? NO WONDER IT IS SPREADING. I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO FIND OUT HOW MY FAMILY SHOULD BE TESTED AND/OR TREATED AS I HAVE FOUND OUT IT HAS TO BE DONE THE RIGHT WAY FROM THE BEGINNING. TREATED IT INCORRECTLY MAKES IT HARDER TO EVER RID YOURSELF OF IT. ANY HELP WOULD BE APPRECIATED.