What hospitals won’t tell you: 8 of the most common errors

On behalf of Mike Clancy

Martin Makary, M.D., M.P.H. is an associate professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital and an advocate for making the medical field safer for patients. He recently wrote an article called “Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won’t Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care” in which he discusses what keeps doctors from reporting medical errors or other issues.

What are these “most common mistakes” that are made in hospitals? According to a recent report, there are eight major ones. The first is medication errors, and researchers with Johns Hopkins University said that 98 percent of the time, telling patients about them is actively avoided.

To help protect against this error, patients can take some of the control into their hands. Knowledge is power — or protection in this case. Patients can force their doctor to take the time to review medications by making a list of every medication and every dose. Ask the doctor exactly why each medication was prescribed, keep your list handy and confirm the medication and dosages on your list as the doctor explains each one.

What if a mistake already happened? In many hospitals, an “open notes” policy has been instituted. A patient can ask to see the notes and look for error indicators. These may include phrases like “near miss” or “risk management.”

Even where an open notes policy is not in place, a patient can still have access to this information. When an injury does occur as a result of a medication error, an Illinois attorney can force access to this information through a discovery request.

Check back into our blog next week where we will cover the rest of the eight most common medical errors that often go unreported to patients.

Source: Yahoo! Health, “Protect Yourself: 8 Common Mistakes Made by Hospital Staffs,” Cindy Kuzma, Oct. 7, 2013

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What hospitals won’t tell you: 8 of the most common errors