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Medical mistakes?

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  #1  
Old 10-08-2002, 06:45 PM
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Ed_L Ed_L is offline
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Medical mistakes?

I think it was Jak's post on another thread that prompted this one. What do you think are the major causes of medical mistakes? Do you think the nursing shortage has anything to do with it, and if so, what can be done to alleviate the problem?

Ed
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Old 10-08-2002, 07:11 PM
dcarr dcarr is offline
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I think the nursing shortage has a lot to do with it Ed. Many hospitals are hiring licensed practical nurses who are nothing more than glorified candy stripers. There was a time when an LPN degree was just a few steps down from RN. Now in some schools and diploma mills it seems anything goes.
This takes away from the many fine R and LPN's who have been educated properly, struggled overworked and underpaid for countless years. They are the one's doing all the medical work while Doctor Glory comes in for his 5 minute appearance, shakes hands, pats you on the head and goes his merry way.
With the hospitals refusing to reward the hard working nurse, many are unable to continue in the profession...so here come the undereducated.
Here in NY so many hospital are filled with ignorant, unmotivated, downright lazy part time "nurses" that I'm amazed there aren't more mistakes.
Shoddy cleansing habits, and an "It's not my job" attitude have taken down what was once and should again be an honored exalted profession.

And this is coming from a Catholic School teacher which is one step above babysitter !!!

Debbie
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Old 10-08-2002, 08:15 PM
Mig Mig is offline
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It doesn't have anything to do with nurses. It's the inequitable medical insurance system in the US. The HMO's are not compensating the medical professionals properly, forcing them to go faster, take on too many patients, cut corners and not perform enough preventative care.
The american system "reacts" to medical care, instead of performing preventative care. This is even worse in the case of individual state funded medical care for the working class poor.
A nursing shortage has nothing to do with this.
The argument here, from my point of view anyway, isn't so much medical mistakes, but rather medical neglect. Performing surgery on the wrong foot of a patient happens, but it's rare; not performing surgery on a person's foot - when they need it, because the HMO (IPA medical group) won't authorize it, is very common, leading to complications down the road for the patient, and costing you and me a lot of money.
This issue, I believe, will develop into a massive outrage sometime in the next decade.

Mig
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Old 10-08-2002, 08:24 PM
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Jakaleena Jakaleena is offline
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Quote:
This issue, I believe, will develop into a massive outrage sometime in the next decade.
And rightly so. We should be outraged at the poor state of medical care & health insurance in the US...
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Old 10-08-2002, 08:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mig
It doesn't have anything to do with nurses. It's the inequitable medical insurance system in the US. The HMO's are not compensating the medical professionals properly, forcing them to go faster, take on too many patients, cut corners and not perform enough preventative care.
YES! Could not agree more...I'm no nurse but my brother is a CNA and one of my sister's in law is an RN. She worked for a time in the hospital system and became very cynical to the whole thing (cynical is NOT good for a nurse)...and said the very same things Mig says. At one point, just months after graduating, she was placed in charge of the entire Oncology department for the duration of the evening...a brand new nurse in a highly stressful environment...put IN CHARGE! If that's not cutting corners I do not know what is. The sad thing is that it forced her to go look elsewhere for a job. She now works as a TB nurse for the State of South Carolina. The hospitals lost out on a Very intelligent nurse with a 4 year nursing degree, a 4 year Biology degree and working on a Master's soon...these are the types of people the hospitals should be trying to retain at all costs.

I guess it all comes down to one thing- $$Profit$$! Do we REALLY want our medical system run like a business?
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Old 10-08-2002, 09:22 PM
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Jakaleena Jakaleena is offline
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You know, it's all such a mess that I really don't know what to suggest.

But...

What if there was a rule (law) that says, "what your doctor says you need is what you MUST be allowed to have"

And what if no one without a medical degree were allowed to tell you what kind of treatment you could or couldn't have (and isn't that akin to practicing medicine without a license anyway?)

And what if there had to be a certain number of nurses (RN's) on EVERY hospital shift. REQUIRED.
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Old 10-08-2002, 09:27 PM
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Tips to prevent medical errors if you are a patient

These include:
Make sure your doctor knows about any allergies and adverse reactions you have had to medicines.
At least once a year, bring all of your medicines and supplements with you to your doctor. "Brown bagging" your medicines can help you and your doctor talk about them and find out if there are any problems.

When your doctor writes you a prescription, make sure you can read it. If you can't read your doctor's handwriting, your pharmacist might not be able to either.

When you pick up your medicine from the pharmacy, ask: Is this the medicine that my doctor prescribed?
A study by the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences found that 88 percent of medicine errors involved the wrong drug or the wrong dose.

If you have a choice, choose a hospital at which many patients have the procedure or surgery you need.

If you are in a hospital, consider asking all health care workers who have direct contact with you whether they have washed their hands. (I was amazed at work (NOT a healthcare facility) to hear/see how many women left the restroom without washing their hands. )
If you are having surgery, make sure that you, your doctor, and your surgeon all agree and are clear on exactly what will be done. Doing surgery at the wrong site (for example, operating on the left knee instead of the right) is rare. But even once is too often. The good news is that wrong-site surgery is 100 percent preventable. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons urges its members to sign their initials directly on the site to be operated on before the surgery.
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Old 10-08-2002, 09:30 PM
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Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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My own opinion is its the allopathic method that doctors use today, treating the symptoms instead of the patient.
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Old 10-08-2002, 09:34 PM
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I think it's a combination of things. Although doctors are not forced into taking part in an HMO, many of them do for various reasons. Mig had some good points concerning HMOs, but the problem seems to influenced by many factors.

Whether we like it or not, most doctors will cover up for another doctor. A doctor has to really be bad before most will say anything about his practice. This means he has to botch things up several times, thereby inviting lawsuits, and raising malpractice insurance rates for all. There are doctors who will take it on themselves to censure another doctor when it is plain that he (she) is incompetent. The ones who cover up for others only add to the problem.

My wife is a registered nurse, who worked in hospitals for several years. She never made a mistake that would have put a patient in jeopardy, but she has been put in a position (understaffing) that she had to have luck on her side, more than once. She was an extremely organized and competent nurse, who is not now working, but she continues to hold her license. Much, if not all of what Debbie said is valid. Good, competent nurses have been routinely underpaid, overworked and not recognized as the professionals they are. This is a major reason for the current nursing shortage.

Of course there are other factors that contribute to medical mistakes. Some of them are human in nature, and that's something that can't be avoided.

Ed
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Old 10-09-2002, 04:18 AM
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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 really think surgeons need a better system for before operations; 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?!?!" ) he DID do it right but it wasn't nice going into the surgery worrying about whether wondering if they're operating on the correct side.

- David
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