Posts Tagged ‘Medical Errors’

What You Can Do to Protect from Medical Errors, Part 2

Steps to Safer Health Care

Compiled and Edited by Sean Jewett

Editors Note: So often the brain injury survivor and/or caregiver finds themselves having to be their own advocate or their loved ones. This is an overwhelming task, and these tips can help you know and recognize how to better fill this challenging and necessary role.

Follow -Up on Test Results

1. Make sure you get the results of all tests and procedures.  Contact the doctors office for results of any testing, follow up on in a timely manner, generally 3 days to a week.

2. Ask the doctor or nurse how and when you will get the results.

3. Don’t assume anything about test results, don’t assume they are good or bad. Have them properly explained and interpreted to you.

Procedures or Surgery

1. Make sure you understand what will happen if you need surgery, make sure all options are presented prior to making the choice for surgery.  You, your doctor and your surgeon should all agree on exactly what will be done during the operation.

2. Include your immediate family in discussions regarding surgery. They should hear what you, the doctor and the surgeon decide upon. It is your decision, but they need to know what is going to occur.

3. Tell the surgeon, anesthesiologist and nurses if you have allergies or have had any reactions to anesthesia.

4. Ask who will be administering your care in the hospital, how long recovery is expected to be, how long the procedure will take, how you should expect to feel afterwards and during the recovery process.

5. Be sure that the Hospital, the medical staff, family members and attorneys have copies of  your living will / DNR and Medical Power of Attorney. Make sure all forms are up to date and keep them updated regularly especially if you have a chronic condition or are hospitalized frequently.

6. Never give any person the originals of any legal form. Make notarized copies to be used when requested.

Be Involved with Your Care

1. If you are in the hospital, ask questions about your treatment and medications if you do not understand them.

2. Report any unsafe situations that you may observe, look for spills, unsafe or piled equipment, hazardous material improperly stored, etc.

3. Make sure you understand your follow-up care and instructions before you leave the hospital or doctor’s office.

4. Take part in every decision about your care and treatment – this is vital and important. People who take part in decisions regarding their care recover at a faster rate (The Lancet and New England Journal of Medicine) and also improve health care quality.

5. Make sure that someone, such as your primary care physician, is in charge of your care.

6. Learn the names of the doctors involved in your care. Multiple reasons for this, one of them is so you can remember who to refer people to, you can also inform people who to avoid. It also helps to remember who to send flowers and gifts to, if you want.

7. Make sure that all health professionals involved in your care have important health information about you. Do not assume that everyone knows all they need to know about you. The basic standard is – ask questions.

8. You also have the right to refuse treatment at any time from anyone or request a second opinion or make a request for the same treatment with a different person if someone has proved themselves to be incompetent inyour view (Patients Rights, American Association of Hospitals and American Medical Association, adopted 1973.)

9. Learn about your condition and treatments by asking your doctor and nurse questions. Consult other reliable resources suggested by health care providers.

What are Medical Errors:

1. Medical Errors can result from complexities in today’s intricate health care system.

2. Errors may happen when health care professionals and their patients have difficulties communicating.

3. Patients need to be involved and informed to help make their treatment successful.

Where can medical errors occur?

1. Hospitals

2. Nursing Homes

3. Clinics

4. Pharmacies

5. Doctors Offices

6. Patients Homes

Some Examples of Medical Errors:

1. Medication Errors

2. Lab Report Errors

3. Surgical Errors

4. Equipment Failure or Diagnostic Error

5. Delayed or Incorrect Diagnosis

The original publication is distributed, free of charge, at the Patient Resource Center on the first floor of the Anschutz Outpatient Pavilion at the Fitzsimon Campus (University of Colorado Hospital Health Sciences Center

Recommended sites: http://www.guideline.gov (National Guidelines Clearinghouse)

http://www.uchsc.edu/library/ (Denison Memorial Library) Go to the Consumer Health Link for both general and specialty health web resources.

With thanks to the Univeristy of Colorado Hospital for use of their free publication, any modifications were made by Sean Jewett

Deacon Patrick’s Round the World Progress

Deacon Patrick's Round the World Progress