It’s the Wonder of the World it is

At least 1,000 hospital patients are dying needlessly each month from dehydration and poor care by doctors and nurses, according to a NHS study.

The deaths from acute kidney injury could be prevented by simple steps such as nurses ensuring patients have enough to drink and doctors reviewing their medication, the researchers say.

Between 15,000 and 40,000 patients die annually because hospital staff fail to diagnose the treatable kidney problem, a figure that dwarfs the death toll from superbugs like MRSA.

That’s something like 5% of all deaths in the nation each year. But we can console ourselves with the knowledge that the NHS is the Wonder of the World, isn’t it?

8 thoughts on “It’s the Wonder of the World it is”

  1. You’ll probably find that most of those deaths were people who were on the way out anyway. Dying from professionally induced renal failure is cheaper than euthanasia as practised in Switzerland. Our caring NHS is only lessening the burden on it’s budget and ultimately the tax payer.

  2. Hydration is Medicine 1010.
    Observations ie temperature, pulse and blood pressure used to be the most important job for nurses, taken regularly and recorded at every bedside.
    Checking observations for early signs of infection, dehydration or blood loss was the junior doctor’s job, to be acted on immediately and referred to the registrar and consultant.
    What for FS are they doing instead?
    Where are the criminal charges and sackings?

  3. The great thing about this is, I put in a complaint, ripped up my bills, and signed up with another provider who actually let me drink from something other than a flower vase.

    That got their attention, and a load of people were fired.

    /sarc – just in case it’s not obvious to foreign visitors.

    Paging PaulB – the NHS called and says you need to get on here and defend it.

  4. Some NHS spin

    This may be why the media has made the link that people are ‘dying of thirst’. But though severe dehydration is a risk factor for AKI, there is no suggestion in the NICE publication or press release that patients are routinely having fluid withheld from them.

  5. In 2012, just under 1800 people were killed on the roads in the UK, and about 23,000 seriously injured. For this, the state exacts punishment, not only for those who cause the deaths and injuries, but also for people who just drive faster than a bureaucratically & randomly assigned speed limit. 2 million drivers (annually) are either fined or “voluntarily” go to re-education classes for speeding (without any requirement for them to have actually caused any harm); never mind the punishment that follows through increased insurance premiums.

    Compare this with the NHS death figures and corresponding fines etc, and the conclusion is…?

  6. AGN – a rather good point well made.

    It seems the NHS’ defence is that we weren’t actually murdering these people, just unable to guarantee a life-saving amount of hydration through sheer incompetence.

    I suspect if this had happened in one of the more god-forsaken parts of sub-saharan africa, we would be spluttering into our cornflakes and muttering in the most politically incorrect way about “useless bastards”..???

  7. But the NHS *is* the Envy of the World, it’s just the fault of the [insert incumbent party]’s fault for not ‘investing’ enough in it.

    Blah blah bankers blah blah food banks blah blah Thatcher …

  8. The NHS may or may not be the wonder of the world, but the spin on this story is the usual Telegraph/Worstall rubbish. What’s happening is that there’s new awareness of the risk of kidney damage in elderly patients, see for example this paper about patients in the USA. NICE has responded with new guidelines on best practice.

    It’s an important advantage of NHS centralization that statistics on this sort of issue can be gathered and best practice guidelines applied across the whole service.

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