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Avoiding Medical Error

by The Duke University Medical Center


Most of us strive as therapists to help our clients/patients so much that they do not need conventional medical treatment, but here's some good advice from the Duke University Medical Center for when they do:


Health care professionals dedicate their lives to keeping patients healthy and safe. But medical errors can happen despite the best intentions—-in fact, a couple of years ago, the Institute of Medicine estimated that between 44,000 and 98,000 patients die each year as the result of medical mistakes. These errors can occur when planned treatment is not done in the right way or if the wrong plan was used initially. They can occur anywhere in the health care system—-hospitals, clinics, outpatient surgery centers, doctors' offices, nursing homes, pharmacies, and in your own home. Errors can involve medicine, operations, tests, diagnosis, equipment, and laboratory reports. They can happen during the most routine tasks, such as when a hospitalized patient on a salt-free diet is given a high-salt meal or when home medications are not taken correctly.


Most errors result when the systems required to deliver today's complex health care do not work or are not used correctly. But errors also can occur when doctors and patients have problems communicating. You can help by becoming actively involved in your own care. Here are some specific suggestions to help you be a partner in safe health care.

General Tips:


Medication Safety

After A Hospital Stay

Duke University Medical Center has lots more good advice on its web site.