Top Screwups Doctors Make and How to Avoid Them
Joe Graedon, Teresa Graedon
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
A primary care doctor is skeptical of his patient’s concerns. A hospital nurse or intern is unaware of a drug’s potential side effects. A physician makes the most “common” diagnosis while overlooking the signs of a rarer and more serious illness, and the patient doesn’t see the necessary specialist until it’s too late. A pharmacist dispenses the wrong drug and a patient dies as a result.
Sadly, these kinds of mistakes happen all the time. Each year, 6.1 million Americans are harmed by diagnostic mistakes, drug disasters, and medical treatments. A decade ago, the Institute of Medicine estimated that up to 98,000 people died in hospitals each year from preventable medical errors. And new research from the University of Utah, HealthGrades of Denver, and elsewhere suggests the toll is much higher.
Patient advocates and bestselling authors Joe and Teresa Graedon came face-to-face with the tragic consequences of doctors’ screwups when Joe’s mother died in Duke Hospital—one of the best in the world—due to a disastrous series of entirely preventable errors. In Top Screwups Doctors Make and How to Avoid Them, the Graedons expose the most common medical mistakes, from doctor’s offices and hospitals to the pharmacy counters and nursing homes. Patients across the country shared their riveting horror stories, and doctors recounted the disastrous—and sometimes deadly—consequences of their colleagues’ oversights and errors. While many patients feel vulnerable and dependent on their health care providers, this book is a startling wake-up call to how wrong doctors can be.
The good news is that we can protect ourselves, and our loved ones, by being educated and vigilant medical consumers. The Graedons give patients the specific, practical steps they need to take to ensure their safety: the questions to ask a specialist before getting a final diagnosis, tips for promoting good communication with your doctor, presurgery checklists, how to avoid deadly drug interactions, and much more.
Whether you’re sick or healthy, young or old, a parent of a young child, or caring for an elderly loved one, Top Screwups Doctors Make and How to Avoid Them is an eye-opening look at the medical mistakes that can truly affect any of us—and an empowering guide that explains what we can do about it.
From the Hardcover edition.
Potential Drug-Drug Interactions.” Drug Safety 2008; 31:525–536. 9. Glassman, P. A., et al. “Improving Recognition of Drug Interactions: Benefits and Barriers to Using Automated Drug Alerts.” Medical Care 2002; 40:1161–1171. 10. Langdorf, M. I., et al. “Physician Versus Computer Knowledge of Potential Drug Interactions in the Emergency Department.” Acad. Emerg. Med. 2000; 7:1321–1329. 11. Dormann, H., et al. “Lack of Awareness of Community-Acquired Adverse Drug Reactions upon Hospital
doctor who has ordered any test or procedure. If you have not heard within a week or two, contact the office and insist on learning your results. • Number ten: Not addressing lifestyle issues. Doctors know that healthy habits could replace a lot of medication. Researchers have proved this beyond a shadow of a doubt. One study from Britain followed almost 5,000 adults for about twenty years. People with poor health habits (smoking, drinking too much, not exercising, and eating badly) were likely
Copyright © 2011 by Graedon Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Crown Archetype, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York. www.crownpublishing.com CROWN ARCHETYPE with colophon is a trademark of Random House, Inc. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Graedon, Joe. Top screwups doctors make and how to avoid them / Joe Graedon & Teresa Graedon.—1st ed. p. cm. 1. Medical errors. I. Graedon,
in Europe5 and just slightly less than that in the United States, though it has increased since 1974.6 When one person in the family has been diagnosed with celiac disease, there is a much higher chance that others will have it as well, perhaps as high as one in five.7 The correct procedure for diagnosis has generated a certain amount of controversy.8 As we have seen, the symptoms can be somewhat nonspecific; the gold standard has been microscopic examination of a biopsy of the small intestine
right. Do not assume that you will always be told the truth automatically. Ask! If you are unsatisfied with the answer, request your medical records. You can also ask to speak with someone in authority at the hospital. When in doubt, go straight to the chief medical officer or the chief executive officer (CEO). That is more likely to get results than just about anything else you try. Top 10 Tips to Stopping Screwups in Hospitals Faced with the risk of so many potential errors and so little