|Truth or Consequences
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- Two-thirds of doctors responding to a survey agreed that they should disclose serious medical errors to patients.
- One-third did not completely agree that they should.
- Nearly two-fifths said they did not completely agree that they should disclose their financial relationships with drug and device companies to patients.
- Just over one-tenth said that, in the previous year, they had told patients something that was not true.
- Nearly 20 percent of physicians said they had not fully disclosed an error to a patient in the previous year because they feared the admission would trigger a malpractice case.
- More than 55 percent of physicians said they often or sometimes described a patientÛªs prognosis in a more positive manner than the facts might support.
- Women and under-represented minority physicians were significantly more likely to follow the CharterÛªs provisions on honest communication compared to white male doctors.
- More than a third of physicians did not completely agree that they should disclose all financial ties with drug and device companies to patients, even though such ties can influence treatment.åÊåÊ
- Consider the services of a patient advocate.
Advocates are there on your behalf and will ask the tough questions and assure your care is coordinated. My friend Trisha Torrey has developed a number of tools to help patients get the support they need, and to help advocates and those who hope to become advocates develop the additional skills they need to do so.
- Visit Physician Compare to find baseline information about your physician.
- If your physician is prescribing a certain medication or suggesting a certain procedure, ask him/her to disclose relationships with drug or device companies.
- For family caregivers, consider the services of a geriatric care manager that can coordinate care for you if your loved one is a far distance away.
- Know what the most prevalent medical errors / causes are. They include: åÊ
- Medication Errors
- Bad Communication
Click for the ten questions every patient should ask their doctor.åÊ
Hospitals are one of the most likely places to receive an infection. This article reports on the incidence of high IV infection rates.
Ten percent of falls for the elderly occur in hospitals. Patients who have other mobility issues like a broken leg, walker, or cane, can also find the clean hospital floors more slippery than those at home.
- Surgical Errors
Wrong site, wrong procedure, and even wrong patient surgeries are some medical errors. Speak to your surgeon about the procedure you are having, why you are having it, and what the surgeon will be doing during the surgery.
- Pharmacy Errors
Pharmacies can also make errors on your medication. In fact, according to this article from CNN, 30 million Americans are the victim of outpatient medication errors each year.
- Lab Errors
Types of common errors can include MRI or CT taken incorrectly, samples taken incorrectly, or results misinterpreted. If you feel your lab results are misleading, you are within your rights to ask for another lab test to confirm.
- Treatment Errors
Be sure to ask why you are having the treatment, how long the doctor has been doing them, and if there are any alternatives. This website is full of guidelines for treating many common illnesses.
- Follow Up Care
When discharged from the hospital or clinic, be sure and know what your follow up care is and what to expect from it.
- Birth Injuries
It may be the most joyous time in your life, but birthing a child can also lead to medical errors. The most common can result in serious injuries such as cerebral palsy and paralysis. Check several hospitals in and outside of your area. See the incidence of birth injury and, if possible, read reviews by other mothers who gave birth there.