Everyone makes mistakes, but the human cost of medical errors can lead to serious injury or even death. It’s a fact that some who work in the medical industry can be careless or just plain ignorant when dealing with the lives of others. For their own well-being, people should become better informed about:
- the treatment they receive
- medications they’ll be taking
- any doctors they choose
Serious Injury or Death
Doctors have been known to provide an inaccurate diagnosis or prescribe the wrong medications to their patients. This could have a serious effect on:
- the way the patient thinks
- their emotions
- overall behavior
The wrong medication can make the patient’s issue worse. Medical errors can cause:
- serious injury
- even death
Be aware that there is a very human cost of medical errors. The family of the patient may be affected emotionally. They may become increasingly concerned when he/she becomes more ill than necessary. Doctors have performed botched surgeries which can hurt someone for the rest of their life if they live through the ordeal.
Educating yourself about your own health and safety doesn’t mean you have to get a medical degree or spend an excessive amount of time. Instead, look through online reviews about doctors and hospitals. Read medication instructions and side effects. Ask a family member, friend or former patient about their experiences with potential doctors. Test any doctors by asking them relevant questions. If they don’t answer these it’s best to find one who allows their patients to become more involved in their own medical problems and health. Utilizing common sense when dealing with your own health and that of your family is a good start.
The Nation’s Cost
The monetary cost of medical errors is mind-boggling. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, this can be from:
- health care costs
- lost household production
- lost income
At the national level, preventable adverse events are estimated to be between $17 billion and $29 billion with adverse events being between $37.6 and $50 billion. The British Medical Journal states that research shows medical errors as the third leading cause of death in the U.S.
Ethics in Medicine
A person who trusts a doctor puts their life into his/her hands. Just because someone has a medical degree it doesn’t always mean they’ll do their work ethically. Some doctors desire the attention prestige brings them and may not care how they treat their patients behind closed doors. Medical errors may also occur due to:
- communication problems
- technical failures
- human problems like poor documentation, among many more
You should scan reviews about doctors and hospitals to become more involved in personal treatment. Become better educated, read medication warnings and ask questions because everyone should consider the human cost of medical errors for their own safety.