How to Avoid Medical Errors


 The Institute of Medicine states that medical errors are responsible for as many as 98,000 hospital deaths each year. The Journal of the American Medical Association would like you to know that side effects to properly prescribed drugs are the 4th leading killer in the U.S.

According to a study done by the National Nutritional Foods Association, prescription drugs are responsible for 106,000 deaths annually, while dietary supplements account for only 16.

Here's a list of tips to protect yourself:

  1.   Show your doctors a list of all your medications, dietary supplements and vitamins.  Make sure they check for contra-indications (things that don't mix well) before giving you further prescriptions. If your doctor turns his or her nose up at this act, find a new doctor.

   2. Question your doctor about all allergies and side effects associated with the medication they suggest.  There are times when docs prescribe drugs which a pharmaceutical salesman convinced them to use (often over a nice lunch or an office visit bearing presents) but they won't actually know all there is about the drug.  Make sure     they are educated about the drugs being handing out!

   3.   Make sure you can read and understand the prescription.

   4.   Specifically ask, "What is this medicine for?  How often and how long do I take it?  Is this safe to take with my other meds?  What are the side effects and what do I do if I experience them?  What food, drink or activities should I avoid?"

   5.   If you have to have surgery, make certain you, your doctor and surgeon all agree on exactly what is to be done and where.  I saw a 60-Minutes special on patients who use a magic marker to indicate which body part is to undergo surgery, so the docs get it right.

   6. Learn as much as possible about your condition by asking docs, nurses and consulting other sources (Internet and library).  Don't just get a second opinion, get a natural health or alternative opinion.  Going to 3 MD's for a second opinion is like reading the same book but expecting a different ending.

   7.   If you have any testing done, don't assume no news is good news.  Get the results explained in terms you understand.

    8.  (Added by the Angel Healing Center)--Consider seeing an alternative doctor or practitioner first so that you can try natural things like herbs and homeopathics.  If your condition warrants an emergency "shock" to stay alive, then and only then consider conventional medicine for short-term intervention after which traditional (alternative) care should be used to continue the process of healing.

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Don't go to an emergency room unless you are ready to be ignored.
If it is an emergency, go in an ambulance.
At least you may get some immediate care from a paramedic!