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Medical Errors

Surprising Facts About the Number of Medical Errors

Hippocrates coined the phrase “First, do no harm”. Modern health care environments are complex with many health care specialists working a single case. A single lapse in the system such as a poorly written note on a patient’s record, a pharmacist missing that two medications are contraindicated or a simple misdiagnosis gone unchecked may make the patient become a statistic for an adverse event or medical error incident.

The Facts

In the journal Health Affairs April 2011 vol. 30 no. 4, a report calculated the annual cost of measurable medical errors harming patients at a whopping $17.1 billion. An in depth study in 2000 by the Institute of Medicine found health care errors were common. As much as 44,000 to 98,000 deaths in the United States are from medical error annually. A 2004 Canadian study by G. R. Baker confirmed the American research. That study screened 3,754 medical charts and found a rate of 7.5% adverse events per 100 patients. Of that 7.5%, 20% of the patients died as a result of the errors.

Perception of the Public

Public perception says the hospital is entirely safe. Only people who have had an unfortunate incident happen to someone they love know otherwise. For the most part the hospital is safe, but like anyplace else it is run by humans and unless enough precautions are put in errors will happen on a regular basis. In any health procedure, a patient must be an active participant in their care. Doing research about an illness or condition, procedures commonly used, or alternatives are a good idea. A good look at the type of pharmaceuticals prescribed helps make informed decisions or prevent issues.

Most Common Errors

Medical errors come classified in three categories. Human error takes the form of mistakes, negligence, or incompetence. Work environment errors come under the categories of failing equipment, fatigue, and unreasonable workload. Errors caused by the organizational such as inadequate facilities, management policies or the chain of command in the organization itself are listed as system problems.

Poor Communication

Doctors see many patients so to increase the level of communication keep a list of medications taken, and ask questions. Many problems stem from what the patient said is not what the doctor heard or a misunderstanding about test results. Also, most major illnesses have more than one doctor working the case so make sure each doctor knows what the other is doing or ask that all the doctors on the case have a meeting together. Have another person present to listen or go over the information with you. When one is ill, emotions do get in the way and having another person there helps.

Not the Right Medication for This Patient

Triple check all medications prescribed. Poor handwriting on the chart, a miscommunication between doctor and patient or incompatibility with the patient’s other medications happen. Pharmacies do verify medications, but when taking a new prescription ask the pharmacist if it is compatible with other medications taken or even appropriate for the condition you have. No harm is done by calling the doctor’s office and having the file checked to insure a patient understands fully their medication prescribed either.

Surgical Errors

Speak to the surgeon about the procedure performed. Make sure the doctors overseeing your care have fully informed the surgeon what is required. Speak to the surgeon or the assistant right before the procedure is performed. State the name and the name of the procedure your body will undergo. Schedule mix-ups or a mix-up on what body part to operate on do occur.

Take an active part in the treatment of your condition. Doctors are human, healthcare systems complex and the patient is the center point of it all. Check, recheck and ask questions.

[box]Via ᔥ Facts quoted from Medical Errors and Patient Safety By Jay Kalra[/box]

[box type=”note”]About the Author: Kevin Dillon is a professional blogger that enjoys dicussing the law. He writes for Obradovich Law, a leading personal injury lawyer in Toronto.[/box]

Fluoride Poisoning

Medical Info & Conspiracy Theories: Fluoride Poisoning

There seems to be a certain group of people in the United States who just love conspiracy theories. I have to wonder if all of the conspiracy theorists hang out together and have conspiracy theory conventions once a year. But then I realize that they’d probably convince themselves that the convention is just a government conspiracy to get them all in the same place at the same time, and they wouldn’t go. The reason that I’ve been thinking about conspiracy theories is that I recently became aware of the fluoride poisoning conspiracy in America. If you haven’t heard about this, you can read extensively about it on Wikipedia, but here’s the gist:

  • In the 1940s the U.S. Government started putting fluoride in the public water supply as a means of reducing tooth decay.
  • In high amounts fluoride is poisonous and has been linked to cancer.
  • Conspiracy theories have arisen as to why the government would poison its own people.

The conspiracy theorists argue that fluoride is a by-product of nuclear weapons production, and that it needed to be dumped somewhere, so the government put it in our drinking water. Some will argue that the slow dosing over time is making people complacent and easier to control—the same argument was made during the Red Scare when conspiracy theorists blamed the Communist government for trying to control the American populace.  Most, however, will cite major industry as the biggest cause of fluoride poisoning, hearkening back to the production of the A-Bomb.

Why is this so hard for me to believe? Because the government could easily dump fluoride anywhere else. You don’t see them putting nuclear waste in our water… what reason would they have to kill all of us with disease and cancer? There are much easier ways for them to do this. On top of that there is no definitive research showing that the amounts of fluoride in the water can cause the diseases that conspiracy theorists claim they do.

I will say that it has been shown that fluoride’s health benefits are extremely minimal, if there at all. I don’t see any need for it to be in our water anymore, and most European countries stopped putting it in their water in the 1970s. So maybe I am wrong. Maybe there is a conspiracy going on here. But I’ll leave that for the masses to decide.

What do you think?

Clinical Trials

Why Participate in a Medical Trial?

Medical trials – also known as clinical trials or drug trials – are part of the process every new medicine goes through before it is licensed and supplied to hospitals and family doctors. It’s a process required by law and there is a great deal of legislation to protect those who participate, both as sponsors of a trial and as participants in a trial. They are vastly expensive and employ experienced professionals to run them.

How to Apply for Medical Trials

The process of applying is fairly simple. Applicants are given a health questionnaire asking them to declare every illness they have ever had. This is important because there are some circumstances under which an applicant cannot be accepted as a healthy volunteer. It’s better to learn this at the application stage than on the ward.

Once an applicant’s medical history has been assessed, they are invited to a medical screening, in which their general health will be assessed. They will also be tested for any underlying conditions that they may not be aware of and any sexually transmitted infections. The one advantage of this is that the UK National Health Service rarely offers such a thorough assessment to its populace.

Once an applicant has passed the physical screening, they are accepted onto the healthy volunteer panel and are eligible to apply for the various trials currently being planned. Those who are interested must register on the volunteer panel with the central clinic and they will be invited for a second screening.

This second physical screening will measure the volunteer’s blood in relation to the parameters of the trial. Not every volunteer on the panel will be eligible for every trial companies like GSK are conducting. If they were, results would almost certainly be skewed, leading to a limited picture from the raw data generated in these trials. Drugs undergoing a trial process must be put through as many trials as possible to ensure their safety and efficacy.

Informed Consent

Once the volunteer sample group has been selected, they are invited to a consent talk. Attendance is mandatory because it’s here that volunteers will learn about the trial drug, the protocols they will go through and any restrictions they must adhere to, not to mention, of course, any side effects they could experience. They must sign to say they willingly give their consent to participate. If they choose not to consent, they may withdraw and there will be no effect on future participation.

Benefits of Participating in Clinical Trials

People from all walks of life participate in medical trials, from manual workers, to medical students, to company executives. Many are interested in observing science at work; while others are contended knowing they are participating in the creation of the medicines of the future. Healthy volunteers are paid an honorarium for their time and commitment. This usually starts at £50, going up according to the amount of time required. Participants are free to leave a trial early, if they wish, but it will affect their honorarium.

Diet Plans

The Basics of Setting Up a Nutrition Plan

Proper nutrition should be an essential part of your diet every day. Setting up a nutrition plan is important and will help you to making sure that you are eating healthy, are able to maintain your ideal weight, feel energized and look good as well.

Individual choices

People are often afraid to set up eating plans for themselves. You can often feel overwhelmed by all the information available on correct eating habits, which types of foods are good to eat and which are bad. The Eating healthy and setting up a plan is far easier them most people realize. It can help you plan your meals, create regular eating habits and make sure that you eat the right types of food, without being overly complicated or difficult to follow (ref 1).

Awareness is important

Different nutrition plans and advice continues to evolve and modern living continues to change. In order to truly take advantage of eating healthy and creating a nutrition plan, you need to be aware of the fact that everything you eat influences your health. Selecting the right food and adopting the correct eating habits is essential to creating a basic plan and does not need to be complicated. Avoiding unhealthy food and applying the correct eating habits is essential, as well as being aware that most convenient food, such as fast food and readymade meals should be avoided (ref 1).

Basic restrictions

When creating a nutrition plan, cutting out harmful and very fatty food is important and there is a large variety of food that should be consumed only in small amounts or entirely avoided. These include salt, processed sugar, and saturated fat. Your plan should include a large variety of different fruit and vegetables, plenty of sea food, low-fat dairy, whole grains and nuts that contain good fats and essential nutrients and vitamins that your body needs daily. It is best to eat small meals on average 5 times a day instead of three large meals. You should also drink plenty of water and including basic exercise to your plan is also a good idea (ref 2).

Benefits of a nutrition plan

A nutrition plan has many benefits and can help you both feel and look healthy while maintaining your ideal weight. Eating healthy and many small meals a day boosts your metabolism, this allows you to burn fat and increases you energy levels. Eating correctly also lowers your cholesterol, reduces cravings, provides your body with essential nutrients, reduces blood pressure and reduces your risk of heart disease and even from some cancers (ref 2).

[box type=”note”]About the Author: Tom White is an experienced wellness coach, owner of a popular cleansing website and an Independent Associate with Isagenix International. Visit Tom's website to learn more about the Isagenix diet, take the “Are You Toxic” quiz and get advice on creating a clean, lean and healthy body[/box]

 

Taking Medicines Properly

How Important is it to Take Your Medicine?

Is it necessary to take medicines when suffering from some health disorder?

Response to this question may vary from one person to another. Observing the present day economy, the price of medicines have grown up higher. It has become difficult for normal people to purchase medicines on a regular basis. Also, intake of medicines for a prolonged period can also result in some side effects.

But, wait!

Will the health condition improve without proper treatment? And medicine intake is a part of almost every treatment. Without proper medicine courses, health improvement will never take place. Yes, surely too much intake of medicinal drugs may have some adverse effects on the body. But, ignore those as there is no better substitute available to medicine intake.

Yes, taking medicine as prescribed by a physician for the required time limit is necessary and a must-follow. Only then can the patient experience positive improvements to his/her health. Otherwise, deterioration is bound to take place at some point.

According to a recent US health survey, taking medicine (pharmaceutical drugs) without being prescribed by a physician can be be extremely harmful. It leads to frequent hospitalization, death, and higher suffering. However, if medicines are taken as prescribed by physician, then chances of such negative consequences are very minimal.

It is very important to take medicine properly but only as prescribed by a reputed practitioner. Proper medicine intake can do wonders in improving the health of patients. And yes, it's a proven fact.

But why do People neglect taking Medicines properly?

There are a whole lot of reasons that can be put forward. Most commonly, a lot of people forget to take their medicines on time. People who have to take some three to four medicines on a daily basis often forget to keep track. At times,skipping a medicine might become a daily routine. But the consequences can be very deadly. Both, skipping as well overdosing of medicine can lead to negative side effects. So, it is always necessary to create a schedule for the medicines to be taken.

So, What's the Solution?

These days, there are several strategies and devices available that help the seniors to keep track of the medications properly. Some gadgets are quite inexpensive and can be easily found at the local drug stores. Some of the reputed drug manufacturing companies are setting up free awareness programs related to proper intake of medicines. Specially-trained nurses visit the patient's residence and educate them about proper intake of medicines.

Nurses or other medical representatives teach them about the negative effects of improper drug dosage. In fact, lots of medical awareness camps are held everywhere to spread the importance of taking medicines properly.

Importance of taking medicines properly should never be overemphasized. It is because the consequences that follow when a senior citizen fails to take medicines properly can be grave. There is also the risk of death if medication dosage does not match with the requirements. Not only overdose but skipping a medicine for even a single day can prove to be fatal.

[box type=”note”]About the author: Margaret is a blogger by profession. She loves writing, reading and travelling. Beside this she is fond of luxury cars and wishes to own one day Lexus LS 600h.[/box]