How To Prevent Medical Errors
Medical science is more sophisticated and safe now that it has ever been before. New regulations and practices have gradually been formulated over the years and adopted more and more universally by medical professionals all over the world. There’s now tighter screening for quacks and checks against common medical errors than ever before.
Having said all that, it’s important to remember that medical errors can and do still happen and that it’s not always best to take the easy route of blindly trusting all doctors and nurses. To paint a clearer picture of the issue, here’s a list of some of the most common medical errors, and the best ways to prevent them.
This is by far the most common error in the medical field, but fortunately, it’s not usually all that serious. It’s also one of the easiest medical errors to prevent on the patient’s part. Some of the most common errors involve doctors assigning a course of medication to the patient due to incorrect information on things like allergies, other medications were taken or previous diagnoses.
It can also be caused simply due to communication errors, a patient’s information not being updated, or even a certain flourish or abnormality in a medical professional’s handwriting! Confusion can also be caused when medications have similar names or have an identical dosage.
These risks are a very real possibility with most medications, whether they be prescription, over-the-counter, vaccines and so on. Just make sure that you always get as much information on your medicines as possible; what you’re taking, the correct dosage, and what you can’t mix with what. If and when you have problems, bring all of your medications to the doctor to ask them.
Today, hospitals and doctor’s practices are required to adhere to strict standards of cleanliness. Despite this, visiting a hospital increases the chances of you getting an infection massively. All active hospitals will have a fairly high incidence of people with infections, which also puts the staff at risk of catching and spreading something. Due to many hospital patients having weak immune systems, the risk of infection is even higher.
Whenever you visit a hospital or practice, be sure to avoid touching anything that may have come into contact with a lot of other people. Avoid touching a doctor’s tie, in particular. Most importantly of all, wash your hands often, and make sure that your doctor has since seeing their last patient. You may feel a little embarrassed telling a doctor to check something so basic, but infections can be serious. Finally, make sure you know the signs of infection and keep your doctors posted if any abnormalities come up.
The pharmaceutical industry is bigger and more lucrative than it has ever been before, and this has been something of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, so much stimulation has meant that we’re seeing more and more medicines with the potential to change people’s lives for the better. On the other, with so many new drugs being formulated and released, it can often be hard to know how patients will react to them.
This can lead to dangerous trips and falls. Thankfully, the large majority of these incidents are minor. Still, that’s not to say that the side-effects of a new medication haven’t sent a few people to law firms like this: www.robinscloudnewmexico.com/serious-personal-injury/. Aside from that, people who have some kind of mobility issue, like a broken leg, are often the victim of trips and falls. If you need any kind of assistance walking around, don’t be too embarrassed to call your hospital or clinic and mention this before your visit.
As you can imagine, they don’t let anyone apply to be a surgeon and then stick them on probation straight away! Thankfully, surgical mistakes are one of the rarer kinds of medical errors. However, when they do happen, they have the potential to be life-changing. Mistakes regarding the site, the procedure, and the patient records can all be the cause of serious surgical mistakes.
Whatever the case, it’s essential to do everything you can to prevent these errors from the day you know you’re going to have surgery. Don’t just leave it to the pros. Go out of your way to understanding everything you can about the surgery you’re having; why you need it, what the procedure involves, and how the treatment will affect your overall recovery.
It can also help to learn about some of the basic regulations in place for surgery. Your surgeon must always sign the incision site while you’re awake and able to see it. The surgeon must always use their valid signature for this. Before the procedure begins, the whole team must perform a checklist of medication and apparatus.
Sometimes, a patient may receive excellent treatment in the medical facility they’re visiting, but things can go wrong “behind the scenes”, so to speak. The biggest risk in medical lab errors is a misdiagnosis. This can lead to the patient receiving the wrong kind of treatment, all while their actual condition continues unchecked.
The most common errors reported to happen in medical labs are CT and MRI scans which are performed incorrectly, samples which are taken incorrectly, and results that are misinterpreted for one reason or another. If you’re having tests, and you have any reason to believe that they’re misleading or there’s been some sort of error, then go ahead and ask for another test to confirm the results. Don’t feel embarrassed about doing this; your doctor has probably had patients who were way more difficult than you!
Your tests and diagnoses may have been completely accurate, but those are only half of the story. Various common medical errors can still happen during the course of your actual treatment. A lot of doctors have been working for decades upon decades, which means that there’s always the risk of them getting into outdated habits.
Even those who make sure that their training and practices are in-line with modern regulations can get a little too comfortable in their work, and overlook various important precautions. Before you go in for any treatment, be sure to read up on how it’s meant to be carried out, ask your doctor how long they’ve been doing these procedures, and whether or not there are any alternatives.
Misinformation on Follow-Up Care
With a lot of conditions and treatments, your doctor will advise a course of follow-up care. Whenever you’re discharged from a clinic or hospital, you need to ensure you know what your follow-up care is, what you need to avoid, and what to expect from the recovery period. Most of this information can be found easily enough online. However, different cases call for different degrees of care, so you may want to write down the details as your doctor gives them and take these notes home with you.
Whatever the condition, no matter how many times you’ve been through “this sort of thing” before, you should follow all the advice you get from medical professionals. If you’re given a prescription of pills and you’re told to take them all, then take them all. Just because your symptoms seem to subside halfway through the course of medication doesn’t mean that you’re actually better.
Before you leave, be sure ask your doctor for a direct line of contact to the facility in case you have any kind of follow-up questions. It’s pretty easy to get swallowed up by the bureaucracy of medical institutions. You really don’t want to get passed from phone to phone when you have a pressing question about your health.
Errors by Pharmacies
As if it wasn’t hard enough with all the risks in a clinic or hospital! Yes, even if you do everything you can to make sure your doctors are working professionally, there’s still a very real and potentially dangerous risk of pharmacies messing up. With countless people coming through their doors every day, pharmacy errors are often just another symptom of a busy, fast-paced service environment.
Thankfully, many of these are minor and pretty easy to catch in the early stages. However, others aren’t so benign. Be absolutely sure of what your doctor is prescribing and how much you need to take. It’s also important to be totally honest when answering their questions, which may touch on embarrassing personal details or recreational drug use. If you’re ever unsure of your dosage or some kind of side effect, research it online and contact your doctor if necessary.
While the large majority of us will never be affected by any kind of medical error, it often pays to know about some of the most common ones. My final piece of advice is to remember that many medical problems are exacerbated by something the patient does. Make sure you’re not making the biggest medical error a civilian can: putting off medical attention and treatment. Saving money and wanting to avoid the hassle are both understandable, but should never be condoned if you really want to look after yourself!