No better than a cat

Of 1,804 hospital fatalities in Britain, 576 were the result of mistakes:

  • failure to measure vital signs,
  • diagnostic errors,
  • condition was not recognized,
  • condition was not acted upon,
  • problems with resuscitation,
  • problems with equipment,
  • did not make an attempt to resuscitate.

More than 31% of deaths were avoidable because staff did not act, help was late, equipment failed, did not have the depth of knowledge and skills, or did not recognize the patient’s worsening condition.

Oscar, the death-detecting hospice catBut Oscar the cat is never wrong!

Oscar, a hospice cat at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Rhode Island, has an uncanny knack for predicting when patients are about to die.

Every day, Oscar makes his rounds among the patients, entering each room and giving each patient a sniff. When he senses that someone is near the end of his or life, he will hop onto their bed and curl up beside them. Within hours, without fail, the patient will die.

He’s considered so accurate that nursing home staff will immediately call family members once Oscar has chosen someone, since it usually means they have less than four hours to live.