Today, 9 December, is the annual World Patient Safety Day. Patient safety is a healthcare discipline ‘that emphasises the reporting, analysis, and prevention of medical errors that often lead to adverse healthcare events’.
One out of every 10 patients is impacted by medical errors. For this reason, the World Health Organisation views patient safety as an ‘endemic concern’. This day serves to ensure high-level, quality care for patients and to increase the awareness of unsafe medical care.
Some issues facing patients are:
- Hospital acquired infections; these infections can make it even more difficult for a patient to recover from the surgery / disease he was admitted to hospital for.
- Drug errors; From problems interpreting a doctor’s handwriting on a prescription, to mistakes in their translation at the pharmacy, to administration problems with dosage, time frames or route of administration, to too many similar and confusing drug names, drug errors account for thousands of deaths per year.
- Surgical errors; Wrong site surgeries, or patient misidentification comprise the bulk of surgical errors. Some surgeries don’t work as well as the surgeon or patient would like, but that’s not the same as one that goes awry, causing an error. Surgeries conducted with heat sources for tasks like cauterizing may also result in fires.
Protect yourself by always making sure you understand the diagnosis and the medication prescribed. Do your homework before agreeing to surgery!