Epidemic of Medical Errors and Hospital-Acquired Infections: Systemic and Social Causes, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Epidemic of Medical Errors and Hospital-Acquired Infections

Systemic and Social Causes, 1st Edition

By William Charney

CRC Press

356 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2012-02-06
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Medical error as defined in Epidemic of Medical Errors and Hospital-Acquired Infections: Systemic and Social Causes encompasses many categories including, but not limited to, medical error, hospital-acquired infections, medication errors, deaths from misdiagnosis, deaths from infectious diarrhea in nursing homes, surgical and post-operative complications, lethal blood clots in veins, and excessive radiation from CT scans. When the deaths from these categories are counted they become the leading cause of fatality to Americans, outpacing cancer and heart disease. Add the numbers of fatalities (mortality) to the millions each year who are injured (morbidity) and whose quality of life is forever effected, and an epidemic of harm is defined.

The book describes the many systemic and social causes of medical error and iatrogenic events, all of which are cited in the peer-review science, that have a direct effect on the epidemic of patient injury, but are rarely or never considered. These systemic causes include factory medicine (for-profit medicine), staffing ratios in clinical and non-clinical departments, shift work, healthcare working conditions, lack of accountability, legal issues that conflict with patient safety issues, bullying and hierarchical relationships, training of healthcare workers that never rises to the level of risk, and injury to healthcare workers. The premise of the book is that if the systemic or social causes are not considered or changed, then medical error will continue to be an epidemic and no substantial impact in the numbers will be realized.

An expert with 30 years of experience as a health and safety officer in healthcare and as an activist for community health and safety issues, editor and author William Charney explores the issues surrounding medical errors and examines the science behind possible solutions. He presents an efficient dialogue that produces a more systemic exploration and targeting of the causes of medical error and drives an exacting message: we are dealing with an epidemic of harm, and unless systemic issues are solved, little will change to subdue the epidemic.

Information on the June 2012 Conference on the Epidemic of Medical Errors & Hospital Acquired Infections in the US and Canada: the Systemic Causes can be found on the CRC Press Issuu page.


"… ground-breaking work … Once again, William Charney challenges the status quo and explores an uncharted field for improvements in American health care systems. Using a social science approach, William Charney brings together a broad range of experts on the aspects of medical errors and hospital acquired infections, including the hospital environment, technology, legal issues, nursing injury rates, and more, including personal stories from the front line. This look at why medical errors and hospital acquired infections occur is long over-due and will hopefully facilitate changes for improved quality of patient care in America."

—Anne Hudson, RN, BSN, Public Health Nurse, Coos County Public Health Dept. & Founder of Work Injured Nurses Group USA (WING USA), Oregon, USA

"… very well informed and breaks finally the code of silence that has surrounded medical error and all the injuries it causes to patients in the US and Canada."

—Jocelyn Villeneuve, senior Ergonomist, Asstsas, Canada

"…The final chapter takes the form of personal story about a truly horrific incident … this chapter alone should make anyone working in the healthcare sector sit up and take notice."

—The RoSPA Occupational Safety & Health Journal, February 2013

"… the editor has brought a broad range of experts together and produced some interesting topics that give the reader something to think about. The book delivered what it said it would without using too much jargon and gave good explanations about each subject."

—Liz Leigh, Manual Handling Adviser/Ergonomist, Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, UK on Ergonomics, 2014, Vol. 57, No. 12, 1933–1935

Table of Contents

Do No Harm: A Social Science Approach to Medical Errors and Hospital-Acquired Infections—A Systemic Approach to the Epidemic, William Charney

For-Profit Care: Its Effect on Medical Errors, Joseph Schirmer

Medical Errors, John H. Lange, Luca Cegolon, and Giuseppe Mastrangelo

Nosocomial Diseases: A Discussion of Issues and Prevention, John H. Lange, Luca Cegolon, and Giuseppe Mastrangelo

No More Preventable Deaths: Hospital-Acquired Infections in Canada and One Union’s Campaign to Stop Them, Jonah Gindin and Michael Hurley

Hospital Epidemiology, John H. Lange, Giuseppe Mastrangelo, and Luca Cegolon

Staffing and Medical Errors, Beth Piknick

Working Conditions and Patient Safety: Impacts on Medical Errors, Steven Hecker

Shift Work and Its Impact on Medical Error, Christine Pontus and Susan Farist Butler

Bullying and Medical Errors, Kathleen Bartholomew

The Relationship between Lateral and Horizontal Violence and Bullying: Nurses and Patient Safety, Christine Pontus and Pamela M. Ortner

Special Populations: Medical Error and Infection, Susan Gallagher

Personal Protective Equipment: Patient and Worker Safety, Thomas P. Fuller

Legal Issues, Barbara Machin

Technology and Medical Errors, Shannon Gallagher

Nursing Injury Rates and Negative Patient Outcomes: Connecting the Dots, William Charney and Joseph Schirmer

Industrial Hygiene for Health-Care Workers: Exposures Causing Injuries, John H. Lange, Giuseppe Mastrangelo, and Luca Cegolon

Perspectives of a Frontline Nurse, Maggie Flanagan

Medical Error: A Personal Story, Daniel Gilmore


Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MEDICAL / Health Care Delivery
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Industrial Engineering
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Industrial Health & Safety