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10 shocking medical mistakes

Discussion in 'Doctors Cafe' started by Egyptian Doctor, Aug 29, 2013.

  1. Egyptian Doctor

    Egyptian Doctor Moderator Verified Doctor

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    When you're a patient, you trust you're in good hands, but even the best doctor or nurse can make a mistake on you or someone you love.

    "Mistakes are happening every day in every hospital in the country that we're just not catching," says Dr. Albert Wu, an internist at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

    Medical errors kill more than a quarter million people every year in the United States and injure millions.

    Add them all up and "you have probably the third leading cause of death" in the country, says Dr. Peter Pronovost, an anesthesiologist and critical care physician at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

    The harm is often avoidable, and there are strategies you can use to help doctors and nurses get things right.

    Here's a list of 10 shocking medical mistakes and ways to not become a victim:

    1. Mistake: Treating the wrong patient
    • Cause: Hospital staff fails to verify a patient's identity.
    • Consequences: Patients with similar names are confused.
    • Prevention: Before every procedure in the hospital, make sure the staff checks your entire name, date of birth and barcode on your wrist band.
    • Example case: Kerry Higuera

    2. Mistake: Surgical souvenirs
    • Cause: Surgical staff miscounts (or fails to count) equipment used inside a patient during an operation.
    • Consequences: Tools get left inside the body.
    • Prevention: If you have unexpected pain, fever or swelling after surgery, ask if you might have a surgical instrument inside you.
    • Example case: Nelson Bailey

    3. Mistake: Lost patients
    • Cause: Patients with dementia are sometimes prone to wandering.
    • Consequences: Patients may become trapped while wandering and die from hypothermia or dehydration.
    • Prevention: If your loved one sometimes wanders, consider a GPS tracking bracelet.
    • Example case: Mary Cole

    4. Mistake: Fake doctors
    • Cause: Con artists pretend to be doctors.
    • Consequences: Medical treatments backfire. Instead of getting better, patients get sicker.
    • Prevention: Confirm online that your physician is licensed.
    • Example case: Sarafina Gerling

    5. Mistake: The ER waiting game
    • Cause: Emergency rooms get backed up when overcrowded hospitals don't have enough beds.
    • Consequences: Patients get sicker while waiting for care.
    • Prevention: Doctors listen to other doctors, so on your way to the hospital call your physician and ask them to call the emergency room.
    • Example case: Malyia Jeffers

    6. Mistake: Air bubbles in blood
    • Cause: The hole in a patient's chest isn't sealed airtight after a chest tube is removed.
    • Consequences: Air bubbles get sucked into the wound and cut off blood supply to the patient's lungs, heart, kidneys and brain. Left uncorrected the patient dies.
    • Prevention: If you have a central line tube in you, ask how you should be positioned when the line comes out.
    • Example case: Blake Fought


    7. Mistake: Operating on the wrong body part
    • Cause: A patient's chart is incorrect, or a surgeon misreads it, or surgical draping obscures marks that denote the correct side of the operation.
    • Consequences: The surgeon cuts into the wrong side of a patient's body.
    • Prevention: Just before surgery, make sure you reaffirm with the nurse and the surgeon the correct body part and side of your operation.
    • Example case: Jesse Matlock

    8. Mistake: Infection infestation
    • Cause: Doctors and nurses don't wash their hands.
    • Consequences: Patients can die from infections spread by hospital workers.
    • Prevention: It may be uncomfortable to ask, but make sure doctors and nurses wash their hands before they touch you, even if they're wearing gloves.
    • Example case: Josh Nahum

    9. Mistake: Lookalike tubes
    • Cause: A chest tube and a feeding tube can look a lot alike.
    • Consequences: Medicine meant for the stomach goes into the chest.
    • Prevention: When you have tubes in you, ask the staff to trace every tube back to the point of origin so the right medicine goes to the right place.
    • Example case: Alicia Coleman

    10. Mistake: Waking up during surgery
    • Cause: An under-dose of anesthesia.
    • Consequences: The brain stays awake while the muscles stay frozen. Most patients aren't in any pain but some feel every poke, prod and cut.
    • Prevention: When you schedule surgery, ask your surgeon if you need to be put asleep or if a local anesthetic might work just as well.
    • Example case: Erin Cook

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  2. Shahid Dar

    Shahid Dar Famous Member

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    haha funny:D:D
     

  3. Dr miemie

    Dr miemie Young Member

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    Very true especially the washing hands part,,,most doctors protect themselves and infect patients
     

  4. Ponchi

    Ponchi Well-Known Member

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    Well, the mistake number 4 is not really medical mistake.
     

  5. Andrea Gronwall

    Andrea Gronwall Young Member

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    Waking during anesthesia....often seen in Ehlers-Danlos
     

  6. Anjali Krishna

    Anjali Krishna Young Member

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    Very much informative....but in the case of a patient who is on ventilator, its up to the health team to keep all these in mind..........
     

  7. M W Salam

    M W Salam Young Member

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    well...most of these r pretty serious,and can result in life threatening conditions if not taken care of...
     

  8. msoenderskov

    msoenderskov Active member

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    Reason number 8?
    "New" research says it is better to disinfect your hands in hospital EtOH.
    reason number 5?
    In most places I've been as a med student, they have triage nurses to make sure the priorities are right, with the enourmous backload on ER's and other emergency centers, asking your doctor to call the ER physician before you arrive, will just back things up even further, resulting in maybe a bad prioritising of patients, due to the GP's wish to have his/her patient seen faster.
    Reason number 9?
    Feeding tubes look way different that chest tubes, especially since the chest tube is attached to a lot if equiptment.
    Central lines, also are smaller than feeding tubes, even with children, thus the mistake is made when people are unprepared or in a hurry, not due to look-a-likes (at least not where I come from)
    Reason number 10?
    Most cases of "awake surgery" has been where the patient is paralyzed but aware. If it is a question of waking up, usually the surgeon discovers this.
    Reason 4?
    Fake doctors, I am so happy that in Denmark, you have to have a license to become a doctor. you can't just set up shop... pretty bad thing if you are not a doctor and you start treating...
    For the rest. I agree completely, although it is worth mentioning that today we have a lot of safety procedures to prevent the errors from happening.
     

  9. Rodrick Lwando

    Rodrick Lwando Famous Member

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    Some patients' body parts were meant to be cut. So, if a doc mistakes you for one of these, you lose one of your body parts.
     

  10. Rodrick Lwando

    Rodrick Lwando Famous Member

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    11. Mistake: Newly born baby given to a wrong mother.
    .
    Causes: similar family names, for example.
    .Consequences: newborns being breastfed by wrong mothers, for example.
    .Prevention: checking family names, dates of birth and barcodes on wrists entirely and correctly.
    .Example: Imagine visiting your newborn son and finding him in the arms of another mother. That's exactly what happened to a new dad Carlos Urrutia at Alta Bates Hospital, Calif, when he walked into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to find a stranger holding his one-day old son Marcello according to the story published by ABC7.
     

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