I was reading a few articles and I decided to write this blog to give people the same awareness. The stats blew my mind. Heart disease and cancer were #1 and #2 in US for cause of death, but medical error was #3. This is astounding. 250,000 people die of a medical error in the US each year, but the true number is more like 440,000. The only reason the reported value is 250,000 is that the death certificate rarely notes it’s a system failure or human error as the cause of death. An appeal has been made to the CDC changing how it collects data for the statistic, but no changes have been made at this time.
Human error happens, but when it does, it can be deadly. I was reading an article on the CNBC website and a little girl Emily was given 20 times the recommended dose of IV sodium chloride. This was mixed by a pharmacy technician. Emily died but sadly her case IS NOT UNIQUE. I read that today alone more than 1,000 people will die because of a preventable hospital error. You should speak up immediately if you see something that isn’t right or that is unsafe.
There are several things a patient can do to protect themselves. Ask questions, seek a second opinion, bring along an advocate, and download an app. Let’s review what I mean. In asking questions, gain as much information as you can from the medical provider, ask about medications, side effects, , look up on the internet what the provider has told you. In seeking a second opinion, there is nothing wrong with getting another perspective. A good doctor won’t feel threatened that you want one; because he or she is confident in what he or she told you. Bringing along an advocate simply means to bring along a family member or friend. Sometimes it is hard to process all the information yourself, and they can help by giving suggestions or asking good questions you may not have thought about asking. Lastly download an app, there are plenty of apps that give you a resource to read medical information in the palm of your hand.
I hope this blog has given you some information and some insight on things to improve your experience. Being informed so that this hopefully doesn’t happen to you or a family member is my goal for you. Please contact Thomas & Wan, LLP at 713-529-1177 with any medical questions, or if you think medical malpractice caused harm to you or a family member. We would be happy to assist you.