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Report: Hospital nursing errors killed hundreds

Poorly trained or overwhelmed nurses are responsible for thousands of deaths and injuries each year in the nation's hospitals, according to a Chicago Tribune investigation.

Since 1995, at least 1,720 hospital patients have died and 9,548 others have been injured because of mistakes made by registered nurses across the country, the Tribune found in an analysis of 3-million state and federal records. The analysis was published today by the Tribune.

The records include cases of patients getting overdoses of medication, vital care being delayed for hours and nurses performing medical procedures without proper training.

The Tribune report, which focused on nursing mistakes, follows claims made in a wider-reaching 1999 report by the Institute of Medicine that estimated medical mistakes kill anywhere from 44,000 to 98,000 hospitalized Americans each year.

Northwest joins carriers

raising domestic fares

EAGAN, Minn. _ Northwest Airlines said Saturday it has joined the nation's other major airlines in raising domestic fares, adding a surcharge of $20 per round trip to cover the higher cost of jet fuel.

No. 5 Continental Airlines posted the higher fares Thursday, and by Friday, TWA and the nation's three largest carriers _ United, American and Delta _ said they would match the increase.

Northwest, the No. 4 carrier, increased fares at least twice earlier this year.

Jet fuel prices have been rising along with the price of crude oil, which reached 10-year highs this month.

Northwest also announced it is eliminating first-class service on its international flights, opting instead for just business and coach sections.

Elsewhere

BURIED BABY RESCUED: A newborn baby was found clinging to life hours after it was buried in a shallow grave just outside a trash dump in Fairfax, S.C. Police Chief John R. Sullivan said he believed the little boy had been buried _ under 3 inches of dirt and lime _ for at least four hours before he was rescued. A nursing supervisor at a Columbia hospital wouldn't release any details about the boy's condition Saturday. No arrests had been made Saturday afternoon.

WING PROBLEM: An airliner made an unscheduled landing Saturday after the pilot reported a problem with one of the plane's wings. National Airlines Flight 661, a Boeing 757, landed at about 1 p.m. at Denver International Airport, airport spokesman Chuck Cannon said. No injuries were reported.

COLUMBINE LAWSUIT: The family of a woman who committed suicide six months after her daughter was paralyzed in the Columbine shootings has sued a Colorado hospital, saying she did not receive adequate treatment for depression. Carla Hochhalter, 48, shot herself in the head in a pawn shop Oct. 22 after asking the clerk to see a handgun and loading it with her own ammunition. Her daughter Anne-Marie was paralyzed in the shootings.

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