Hospital lends a hand in saving lives

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The 100K Lives campaign, a national effort to enhance the safety of hospital patients, has reached its goal of saving 100,000 lives in 18 months. And health officials from The Memorial Hospital in Craig had a hand in achieving that goal.

The campaign is organized by the Colorado Trust to help hospitals improve health care systems to reduce medical errors and hospital-acquired infections. By implementing six safety procedures -- in----cluding steps to reduce infection from catheters and at surgical sites -- the trust estimated 122,300 lives were saved.

Sixty-two hospitals across the state participated, including The Memorial Hospital.

Beka Warren, a registered nurse and chief quality officer at the hospital, oversees the campaign efforts in Craig. She said the program has been a benefit to health care practices.

"Lowering the death rate or mortality rate is the goal," Warren said. "We've had a very positive response. Are we actually lowering the death rate? Low and behold, we are."

Colorado Trust provided the hospital with a $35,000 grant to incorporate efforts that would reduce deaths.

Efforts began across the state in August 2005. Health care professionals will continue to track the number of lives saved through Feb. 2007.

John R. Moran, Jr., president and chief executive officer of the Colorado Trust, congratulated the 62 participating hospitals on surpassing the campaign's goal.

"This is a tremendous ach--ievement on a national level that demonstrates the strides being made in health care," Moran said. "Hospitals have committed themselves to maintaining the highest standards when it comes to patient safety, and they are saving lives as a result."

In other hospital news, a physicians' group has honored a former hospital administrator for her "outstanding service to the profession of osteopathic family medicine."

Last week, Dr. Thomas Told -- president of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians and -- announced the award would go to Susan McGouch, who served as interim administrator at the hospital.

Told said McGouch has consistently recognized the vital role that osteopathic physicians play in the success of rural hospitals. She also devised a hospital structure that emphasizes primary care services and was quick to eliminate any impediments to the delivery of family practice services and procedures.

"Her insight and help to the members of the hospital's medical staff will always be remembered," Told said.

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