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article imageHospitals are deadlier than roads in Belgium

By Bart B. Van Bockstaele     Jan 19, 2009 in Health
Many people who saw Michael Moore's "Sicko" are convinced that Europe is a health care paradise, but is that really true? New numbers from Belgium suggest that the differences between the U.S. and Europe may not be so enormous after all.
De Standaard, a leading Dutch-language newspaper in Belgium, tells us that a researcher from the University of Leuven has made a report used by the federal knowledge center for health care KCE that states that more than 1,500 Belgians die every year as a direct consequence of their hospitalization.
These people die as a result of an "undesired incident" in a health care centre. According to KCE, they get an injury or an unintended complication that causes invalidity, death or a prolonged hospital stay that is the result of care management in the hospital rather than the patient's illness.
Baudoin Byl, a hygiene specialist in the Brussels Erasmus hospital, said this type of undesired incidents occurs in 6 to 10 per cent of the patients admitted to a hospital. The organization "Medical Services," on the other hand, says that approximately 20,000 medical errors are made every year, 2,000 of which result in the death of the patient.
Health care minister Laurette Onkelinx says that this situation is "unacceptable."
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