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POSTS TAGGED "medical mistakes"

Hospital Medication Mistakes

The most common medical errors are in the giving of the wrong dosage and using of wrong administration routes. Older people especially those at the age of 60 and above form almost half of the fatal medication errors. People in this age bracket are at a higher risk since they take multiple prescription medication. There are several agencies, which collect information regarding medication errors, and these include, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which gets its report from the MedWatch program.

Overtreatment: Study Warns Against Frequent Use of Endoscopy

As the old proverb says, too much of a good thing can become bad. In the case of a medical procedure that offers only marginal benefits, we might say that too much of something unhelpful is potentially even worse.

A new study says exactly that about a common procedure used to diagnose many cases of heartburn. Although endoscopies offer only slight benefits for heartburn sufferers, they can cause serious injuries under some circumstances. By ignoring the warnings of this study and relying on frequent endoscopies, doctors might be committing medical malpractice. Doctors would be running unnecessary risks with little treatment benefits to show for it. 

The "July Effect": Do You Receive Worse Medical Care in July?

 Rumor has it that July is the worst time of the year to go to the hospital. This is due largely to the influx of brand new residents, fresh from medical school, who are more apt to make medical mistakes.

But is that all there is to it? Is it simply urban legend or does the rumor hold true?

Does experience correlate to better care? The answer to this is even more complicated: it depends.

On the one hand, doctors with more experience tend to have more practical working knowledge. They've seen symptoms in action and have a better idea of what treatments work best under what conditions. But on the other hand, doctors fresh out of medical school may be more up to date on the latest technology, cutting edge of education and are usually less susceptible to falling into biased ways of thinking. And that thinking outside of the box can arguably lead to better care and improved patient safety at times.

But it does still depend - largely on why a patient is at the hospital in the first place.

Study Suggests Doctor Fatigue Increases Likelihood of Medical Mistake

 Being fatigued throughout the workday is basically the equivalent of being legally drunk. And that can have particularly dangerous consequences when your job requires you to spend your days in the operating room with a scalpel in hand.

According to a recent study with a small sampling of surgical residents at two hospitals in Boston, researchers found that sleep-deprived surgeons are more likely to make significant errors than surgeons that are more well-rested. New guidelines were put into place a few years ago that limited the number of work hours that surgical residents could put in. But the study found that, despite these limitations, the average five-and-a-half hours of sleep a night received by residents still was not enough to stave off fatigue throughout the workday.

Surgeons Who Drink Before Operating Put Patients at Risk

 For many, it is no surprise that people who work in high-stress occupations are vulnerable to alcohol abuse. Unfortunately, many of these same occupations require a great deal of skill. This is particularly troubling when the abuse might affect a medical practitioner who needs to operate at peak performance to ensure the safety of a patient.

A recent survey has revealed that a high percentage of medical surgeons have a drinking problem. A survey published in the February edition of Archives of Surgery found that 14 percent of male surgeons and 26 percent of female surgeons are alcoholics. One analyst has said the numbers might even be higher, since only about 29 percent of those surveyed actually responded. Researchers do not find this surprising since people with drinking problems often are reluctant to reveal that problem to others.

The survey did not specifically attempt to learn if surgeons who drink more have higher rates ofmedical negligence. But an earlier study in the same publication indicated this might be the case if the surgeon operates the day after a night of drinking.

Drowsy Doctoring Poses Safety Concerns for Patients

 It is not uncommon to see stories of fatigued drivers and drowsy driving accidents, but rarely do stories of drowsy doctoring make the headlines. Despite the fact that it is not as widely read about, the dangers of fatigue in hospitals and doctors' offices is a growing concern.

A recent American Medical News article reported that the Joint Commission, which accredits thousands of health care agencies, issued a statement to more than 6,500 health care providers and hospitals telling them to increase their efforts to curb fatigue among their employees.

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