You haven’t been feeling well, so you schedule an appointment with your Kentucky health care provider to see if he or she can pinpoint the problem and get you back on the road to health. Before you go to that appointment, though, you should know that CNBC reports numerous studies indicate there are more than 200,000 fatal medical errors every year. How is it that mistakes take such a heavy toll on human life?
Some risks come from simple human error. A doctor misses a symptom that would have directed him or her to the proper diagnosis. A nurse misreads the amount of medicine that should be administered.
However, safety experts note that much of the problem goes beyond a single mistake made by one person. Instead, it is often a problem with the system. In some cases, staff is underqualified, inadequately trained or overworked – all factors that lead to increased risk of a serious medical error. Computer software malfunctions may contribute to problems that cause mistakes, too. Miscommunication is also a major source of dangerous adverse events.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to lower your risk of going from patient to victim:
- Ask your provider for details about the benefits, risks and side effects of any given treatment
- Get a second opinion if you receive a serious diagnosis, or if you feel that a doctor is dismissing troubling symptoms
- Take a trusted friend or family member with you to appointments to help you gather and process the information the doctor provides
- Download a health care app to your smartphone to help you manage your medical records, medications, symptoms and other important information
This information is provided for educational purposes, but it is general in nature and should not be taken as medical or legal advice.