Friday, November 07, 2014

How to save yourself from medical errors

The third leading cause of are medical mistakes (heart disease and cancer are one and two).

About 400,000 hospital patients die of errors--preventable errors.

Gwen van Servellen, MD, UCLA professor emeritus, wrote The Healthcare Handbook. Go to

Errors occur in hospitals for a number of reasons...

Unnecessary treatment
Medication mistakes
Never events--that should never happen--like operating on the wrong limb
Malfunctioning devices
                                                      Sent home too soon

My advice is try to spend the least time in the hospital you can. Try not to stay over a weekend. Question medicines being given or hung in an IV--if you can't, have someone there who can. Just say, "What's that do?"

Also...insist on talking to the doctor, probably an in-house physician called a hospitalist, not your familiar doctor. Ask how you are doing. What is the care plan. When can you go home.

The biggest thing you can do is speak up! "This feels funny." "I went to the bathroom and almost keeled over." "I am not hungry for some reason."

When a new shift comes on, tell the new nurse what has been going on.

It is also important to be nice. If you are a screamer and curser, they will stay out of your room. You don't want that.

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