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Medical mistakes?

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Old 10-09-2002, 03:22 AM
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G. Couch G. Couch is offline
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Originally posted by d_kendal
Just before my surgery while i was waiting, my surgeon asked me which side he was gonna be operating on, which scared the heck out of me ("what if they operate on the wrong side?!?!" )
I would have jumped up and hobbled on out of there!
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Old 10-09-2002, 03:52 AM
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d_kendal d_kendal is offline
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lol, yep that was definitely on my mind, but if i had tried it i probably would have fallen over attempting to do it

- David
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Old 10-09-2002, 04:39 AM
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clare clare is offline
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The British NHS and Medical system is totally screwed up as well.

I have worked as a nursing auxiliary in a psychiatric ward and the main problems were always under staffing. I shift leaders/ ward managers always had to explain if they ordered more staff or called in an agency nurse .... it was like the Spanish inquisition just for safety!

David, If in doubt take out a ball point pen and right on your good knee ' please operated on the other side' with a whole bunch of arrows! It might look stupid but at least it would wake them up and to look on your notes.

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Old 10-09-2002, 05:08 AM
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Jakaleena Jakaleena is offline
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I've had at least my share of medical mistakes, it took about 5 months and probably 10 different mis-diagnosis before the doc's figured out what was wrong with my knees.
I can sympathize with that, David. It's horrible...

I have a fairly rare (and fairly painful) medical condition that started when I was 12 years old. I was pooh-poohed by gawd knows how many doctors until one was finally able to diagnose it. That was only 4 years ago. I'm 43 years old right now. It took 27 years.

And, that diagnosis was just a lucky accident as I had to see a different doctor in the practice I was using since my own regular doctor was called out to deliver a baby while I was there for my appointment. The brilliant man I saw instead recognized my problem immediately...
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Old 10-09-2002, 05:50 AM
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chiquitita chiquitita is offline
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I have watched several people die and/ go through complete hell because of medical mistakes. My friend's mom just died of colon cancer after being mis-diagnosed for YEARS with irratable bowel syndrome.

CJ - As far as the list of things you can do to avoid mistakes, add this one:


I could go into detail of 6 months of 2001 where I sat next to my grandmother in the hospital night and day because she could not move, and watched people give her the wrong tests, wrong medicine, she was ignored when she started going into Congestive Heart Failure, and it wasn't until a REALITIVE got there and raised hell that she was cared for, and even then it was spotty. One day she told us that nobody had been in, and we found out the nurse didn't even know she was assigned to her - so my grandmother was without care for who knows how long.

AND - this month long hospital stay and 8 month rehabilitation was due to a medication (Baycol - finally pulled from the market in Aug. 2001) to begin with, because a brilliant cardiologist decided that now was the time, at age 84, to lower her cholesterol.
When we carried her into the doctors office because she didn't have enought muscle stregnth to lift her head from the pillow, they told us to go home and make her drink lots of water. We had to BEG them the following day to admit her to the hospital.

This was a woman who had been outside washing her car just days before....
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Old 10-09-2002, 10:21 AM
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CJ Swartz CJ Swartz is offline
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chiquitita, how is your grandmother doing now-- better, I hope.

It is frightening to think what would have happened if you and other relatives had not been there, and to see what ills a "medicine" can cause. When I listen to TV/radio ads for new meds offered for a variety of ills, so many of them have a list of "possible" side-effects that are FAR worse than the condition for which they would be prescribed! If it weren't for people demanding changes in the past, we wouldn't even be hearing those lists of side-effects.

David, Clare's recommendation is one of the points made by experts in that list I referred to above -- MARK which area is supposed to be operated on, (and, for insurance, mark which parts are NOT supposed to be messed with). Glad your surgeon had a good memory -- once he was reminded.

I believe that we have to realize that doctors/surgeons nowadays see many more patients than when I was a kid and the doctor knew my case history because he was my family doctor and CAME TO THE HOUSE when I was sick with simple childhood diseases. We have to take part in our own advocacy and be the supervisor for our own healthcare.
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Old 10-09-2002, 10:52 AM
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chiquitita chiquitita is offline
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You really do have to be your own doctor, doing the research and picking the best treatment, and then find a doctor willing to go along with you. You have to know what symptoms to point out and ask a lot of questions - force the doctor to spend at least a few minutes with you. A good source of info about medication is

My grandmother is fine now, but after she was released from the hospital she slipped , for several months, into an alzheimers / dementia state so bad that she didn't know what year it was or what state she lived in, then one day, as quick as she went, she came back, and is fine now. She hardly remembers anything from last year though. I wish I could forget as easily.
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