Friday, August 24, 2012

More Treatment, More Mistakes

According to a report from 1999, medical mistakes were the reason why 98,000 Americans were dying every year.  

However, a reasonable estimate is now currently around 200,000 Americans, according to an article from the New York Times.  

In a recent anonymous survey, orthopedic surgeons have stated that 24 percent of tests they have ordered were actually not necessary. This is called defensive medicine, which is used in hopes of avoiding mistakes. However, each additional test or procedure can make room for more error.  

More is not always better.  

M.R.I. and CT scans can lead to false positives and ultimately unnecessary operations. As more medications are prescribed, the chance of a patient having an allergic reaction or an accidental overdose increases. 

It has been shown that since 1996, the percentage of doctor visits leading to at least five drugs’ being prescribed to patients have almost tripled, while the number of M.R.I. scans being ordered have quadrupled, according to the article.  

Many people have come up with ways to be safer in the hospitals and doctors’ offices. Checklists have been developed to bring hospital-acquired infections down to a close zero. There are also rules in place now that stop nurses from being disturbed while they dispense medications.  

Hospitals are expected to uphold the highest standards when it comes to taking care of patients. Maybe when doctors are asked by their colleagues to justify the tests and procedures they ordered, they will be reminded that doing more may not be the best idea.
Snyder and Wenner, P.C.

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