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Scared yet? You should be!

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by -Ken, Dec 12, 2002.

  1. -Ken

    -Ken Guest

    This article reports on the significant number of mistakes being made by our medical profession.

    <small>As quoted from the article,</small>
    "Four of every 10 Americans and one of every three doctors say that they or their family members have been the victims of a preventable medical error, and nearly 10 percent say a family member died as a consequence, according to a national survey being published today."

    If we have the finest medical care in the world, I might as well go to a Shaman next time. Something about "first do no harm..."
  2. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    Ten percent of all Americans? Or 10 percent of the people who responded that indicated problems?

    "...lies, damned lies, and statistics." - Mark Twain
  3. mikeky

    mikeky Member

    <small>from the article</small>
    I suspect that many times deaths were blamed on health care providers even if the cause wasn't under their control. Without specifics, seems this survey is worthless.

    I do agree with one thing the article said: hold those making mistakes accountable. But how do you do it? Imprisonment or suspension on the first mistake? The second mistake? Only if it was gross negligence? Should health care providers be held to the standard of perfection?
  4. Misu

    Misu Hey, I saw that.

    My grandmother died because of a medical mistake - she died at the hospital, while under observation. They were supposed to give her a blood thinning agent, but they never gave it to her - and as a result, she died of a blod clot, autopsy indicated a massive blood clot somewhere in her leg. That's a medical mistake that my family is still fighting about in the courts with the hospital. Meanwhile, the doctors and nurses who did this are still practicing medicine, and God knows how many others have died because of their negligence.
  5. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    When I had two fusions done my doctor said it would take 2 or 2.5 hours. It ended up taking over 5 hours. When asked why they said I had more muscle than they expected.

    I ended up with nerve damage, trouble walking, and more pain in the right circumstances than before the surgery. Was a mistake made? How would I know? That's the crux of the problem. If they do mistakes it is usually egregious before we hear about it.

    So I still trust doctors but I mistrust the profession. They protect themselves more often than the patient.
  6. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    Misu, I'm sorry for your loss.

    Grievous mistakes do occur, and should be dealt with accordingly.

    Far more frequently, imo, the human body just does things that doctors cannot respond to. We've all heard anecdotes about people who overcame physical injuries or illnesses that all competent medical authority said could never be overcome.

    It should be no surprise that the opposite can occur: people with common, treatable medical conditions sometimes die, for no apparent reason.

    I give no credence to the "average American's" ability to judge whether or not a preventable medical error occurred. The 1 in 4 number is, to me, meaningless and alarmist in nature.

    Now, the 1 in 3 figure, offered by physicians, concerns me more. The caveat I offer, though, is that physicians are far more likely to view every mistake, no matter how minor or irrelevant to a patient's health, as a "preventable medical error".

    I would be interested in a statistic that compared the absolute number of deaths attributed to medical error to the absolute number of treatment contacts. I'll bet it's far below 33% or even 25%!

    The solution to any such death is, of course, continued research into improved treatment methods and, more importantly, close scrutiny and peer review of all deaths occurring while under a physician's care.
  7. jfcjrus

    jfcjrus Veteran Member

    Why do we common folks give doctors the benifit of the doubt?

    1. They, alone, can save our butts when no one else can.
    2. We generally don't know what the heck they're talking about.
    3. If you can't trust doctors when the chips are down, who are you going to trust? Lawyers?

    But, I submit:
    That if doctors are going to maintain the lifetimes of trust and reverance that they've achieved, they must admit mistakes and insure us common folks that it will NEVER happen again.

    They're human, like the rest of us. But, what they do every day is massive.
    If they can't maintain the TRUST, then they'll be no better than than (place your pet peeve here - (how about contractors?)).

    The medical profession must admit and correct any MISTAKE that occurs. Period.
    Life or death is nothing to be cavalier about.
    Business considerations be damned.

  8. Jedi Writer

    Jedi Writer Guest

    Medical "mistakes" happen for basically one or more of four reasons.

    1. A honest we are not perfect mistake.

    2. The overall poor quality of the either the facility or the staff at a facility--or both.

    3. Honest but still ignorance that dominates certain fields of medicine such orthopedics but especially back surgery and the inappropriate need for it.

    4. Individual characteristics of the patient.

    Reason number two happens for a variety of reasons but the dominant and driving force is money. The topic is touched on in a very long and eloquent post on our medical field in another thread by some member.

    We do have the finest overall medical system in the world. But it has its weaknesses for sure which includes many people either being routed to the wrong facility or more often lacking funds to gain access to the good facilities---even if they know the difference. (Which is whole separate issue or problem in of itself!)
  9. Misu

    Misu Hey, I saw that.

    You know, I also seriously believe that many mistakes are made by doctors because they believe they're infallible.

    Case in point - I suffered a herniated disc. I had a herniated disc for 2 years, and for 8 months or so, it was mind boggling the type of pain I had. The first orthopedic surgeon I went to, after submitting me to all sorts of tests (except an MRI), told me I had a torn back muscle.

    Now, had it not been for WebMD, I wouldn't have known the symptoms of a herniated disc. I asked this doctor if maybe what I had was a herniated disc, and maybe she should give me a scrip for an MRI - this lady was OFFENDED that I dare question her authority. She walked out in a huff, she was pissed that I would suggest she's wrong. Needless to say, it was the last time I saw her. I went to a Chiropractor, and he took one look at me and referred me to an Orthopedic Surgeon - for a herniated disc. Within 3 weeks, I was in surgery.

    And in my lifetime, I've gone to several doctors that have misdiagnosed me. I think I've been misdiagnosed more often than not - even my PCOS was misdiagnosed. It took about 6 years and something like 12 doctors to FINALLY get properly diagnosed. I mena, come on. PCOS is easy enough to diagnose - all it takes is a hormone test and an ultrasound. Did any of the 12 doctors do that? No - most of them attributed my problems to my weight - because I was overweight, that was my problem. It never dawned on them that maybe there was something else other than my weight.

    I trust doctors when I feel they've diagnosed me correctly. But when you're told over and over 'it's in your head, you're not feeling any real pain, you're making it up', you know... It's hard not to be somewhat biased against doctors.
  10. Coot

    Coot Passed Away January 7, 2010

    Ahh Jedi, you touch on it and you dance around it, but you don't come out and say it. What belongs near to the top of the list is the patient load of the nurses and the interns...mostly the nurses. I for one, think that the blame for a large number of medical 'mistakes' can be laid squarely on hospitals that will not provide realistic working conditions for the front line care givers. Sure there are mistakes by doctors, but I'm thinking they're a lot less than 'mistakes' by overworked nurses trying to do the best job they can with in the little time they have to give to each patient.
  11. Jedi Writer

    Jedi Writer Guest

    Coot, sure I do. That would fall under number two, clearly. Number two is important enough that I expand a bit on more on it the narrative below it.

    Thanks though for pointing out specifically one valid and good example of it. :) By the way it matters not that the nurse is as an outstanding medical person as you could find. They like of any of us can only do so much and handle so much at one time. They will be the first to tell you that.

    When I was in the hospital step down ward recovering from open heart surgery I wanted to go into several rooms around me a slap the shit out of some of the patients. The ones I am referring to specifically were literally bitching and moaning about where was there water they asked for five minutes ago or why didn't it have ice in it! ( I am not kidding.) Meanwhile the nurses who were all just wonderful were running around as fast as they could. And taking care of their patient load and patient "needs" in the proper and reasonable order. Sort of a civilized triage.
  12. HaYwIrE

    HaYwIrE Banned

    MAYBE a little OT, but not really. I have this webpage bookmarked and the numbers there are kind of interesting.

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