TitleStructural Codes and Patient Safety: does Strict Compliance make Sense?
AuthorsFeeley R., Walsh D. C., Fielding J. E.
PublicationAm J Law Med. 1977 Jan; 3(4):447-54.
AbstractThe authors of this Comment note recent trends rigidifying the enforcement of building and safety codes for health care facilities and compare the estimated costs (in terms of dollars spent) of those trends with their anticipated benefits (in terms of potential years of human life saved). They estimate that for each potential year of life saved, strict enforcement of the Life Safety Code of the National Fire Protection Association would cost $12.7 to $63.5 million for hospitals and $1.1 to $2.6 million for nursing homes, the latter figure based on Massachusett's experience. These figures are contrasted to the cost of routine kidney dialysis, which is generally acknowledged to be an extremely expensive technology, costing approximately $20,000 per potential year of life saved. The authors suggest that even if strict enforcement of the Code were fully effective (which, given the current structure of the Code, seems doubtful), a portion of the substantial financial resources expended from our limited national health care budget in hewing to the letter of the Code might be better spent on other activities with greater potential yield in improving the quality of life for patients in hospitals and nursing homes.