In the report from the conference “Error in Medicine: The Role of Morbidity & Mortality Conference,” Vincent Liu report that increasing cases of errors involving doctors and patients had led to a national concern on the very issue. Lui report that while it could be assumed that medical errors only affect patients, it was found that physicians were equally affected. The conference was dubbed M& M which was acronym for Morbidity and Mortality. In the conference, doctors discussed modalities that would be applicable in an attempt to reduce such occurrences (Lui, p.1).
Lui writes that a report released on patient safety titled “To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System” it was estimated that between forty-four thousand and ninety-eight thousand people succumb to death resulting from errors that could be contained. In an attempt to change this tragic numbers, the institute of Medicine advocated for the redesign of the national priority on patient safety as well as emphasizing the importance of patient safety to physicians (Lui, p. 1 paragraph 2). Ironically, only few physicians felt that medical error was a problem compared to the rising cost of health care as well as concerns with medical insurance companies. A survey conducted amongst physicians whose family member had been affected by medical error reported that while the error was to blamed on the physician, only twenty-five percent of those interviewed agreed that mandatory reporting would be a solution. In conclusion, Lui makes an argument that medical error is hardly ignorable; it is a reality in the medical field. It is a responsibility of medical practitioners to take responsibility by reporting medical errors when they occur, and to give the issue the attention that it deserves (Lui, p.3).
In their article, “Discussion of Medical Errors in Morbidity and Mortality Conferences” Pierluissi, Fischer, Campbell and Landefold reckon that while recognition of the inevitability of errors in most scientific fields has been followed by impressive reduction in errors, the medical field has been lagging behind. Even as the attention of medical errors grabbed headlines, and increased actions by governments, non-governmental organizations, and professional organizations, the magnitude of medical errors has not reduced significantly. The authors of the article propose that perhaps openness in the discussion and study of errors is central to designing of workable solutions.
The writers of the article conducted a study at San Francisco General Hospital Veteran Affairs Medical Center, University of California, and Stanford University Medical Center. In their conclusion, the studies found out that more than eighty percent of the 295 responding internal medicine program directors reported that morbidity and mortality cases were most often selected because of unsuspected adverse events or suspected errors. The article argues that it is important for cultural differences between internal medicine and surgery as well as the missed opportunities for learning to improve on the existing systems. In conclusion, the writers propose that open discussions on the mechanisms to solve medical errors would be prudent in the realization of decreased medical errors. Such discussion is only possible if all stakeholders act in unison and understand the severity of the issue of concern.
Sanjau Gupta writing for the New York Times, on the article “More Treatment, More Mistakes”, argued that the reason for the staggering medical mistakes made by doctor’s lies on the increase of medical procedures and medicine injected to patients. She writes that it is estimated that that approximately 200, 0000 Americans die every year from medical mistakes which a big increase from the 98,000 reported in 1999. Gupta’s thesis posits that the advent of technology and the increase in medical procedures is for blame for the increased medical errors. Since 1996, most Americans would go to the doctor and get prescriptions for more than five drugs. The indication here is that the prescription, tests, and drugs are not based on legitimate need, but for what is popularly known as “defensive medicine” (Gupta, paragraph 3). While the premise of defensive medicine is to avoid mistakes, it is the reason many mistakes occur in medicine. In her argument, the more patients have access to non-required medications, procedures, tests, and the more the likelihood of medical mistakes increases. For example, routine procedures such as the removal of gallbladder these days requires anesthesia which has the side effects of increasing the chances of heart attack. One would not be wrong to argue that the occurrences of heart attacks of that nature would be avoided with the limited use of anesthesia on gallbladder procedures (Gupta, p.3).
Gupta uses personal stories from M& M sessions, while highlighting the important role M& M gatherings play in the reduction of medical accidents. Her reason is that sharing of such information creates accountability on the part of the doctor while allowing physicians to correct one another (Gupta, p.3).
On his part, Jan Gurley plays the devil’s advocate by defending doctors against medical lawsuits arising from medical errors in the article “Malpractice Fails when it comes to Medical Errors”. In page one, Gurley writes that “I’ am one of those renegade docs who think that sometimes a malpractice lawsuit is the only way to go. If for no other reason than lack of other options. Plus that issue that, frankly people are dying”. In short, Gurley argues that instead of litigations on doctors, there should be reliable solutions that that realizes solutions before the dead end come on lawsuits. According to Gurley, suing doctors because of medical errors only make doctors poorer.
Even though Gurley admits that medical errors are fatal occurrences that should never happen to anyone, he says that the best way to go about them should not only through courts. First legal suits always end in emotional breakdowns on the part of the client and the doctor. Second, they are also expensive, and usually do not solve most of the underlying issues. In paragraph four of the first page, he writes that “half of the doctors are sued before the age of 40”. Given the economic costs of being a doctor in the United States, it does not make much sense to have a doctor struggling financially because of some mistake that could easily happen unnoticed for someone in any field.
Furthermore, Gurley that doctor’s are always sued on the basis of “malpractice” a uniform term that describes medical accidents. The term malpractice means that the affected doctors are not allowed to practice medicine. The irony is the 65 percent of the claims for medical errors ate thrown out on (Gurley, page 2). In conclusion, Gurley argues that while medical errors are fatal, there should be better alternatives to handle them.
Jeremy Laurence’s examined the case of medical errors in the United Kingdom. In his essay “Doctors Basic Errors are Killing 1000 Patients a Month” Jeremy articulates some of the common problems of medical problems that plague the medical industry. According to a research carried out by London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, there are approximately 13 percent of patients die in hospitals due to cases going wrong, mistakes that are done by doctors or other medical professionals. The UK’s NHS says that they are alarmed at the numbers of the cases of death arising from medical errors ( Laurence, p. 1).
According to FamilyDoctor.Org, medical errors are serious causes of death and injury. However, they can be avoided if patient’s tale charge of their own health and ensure that there are on the same page with their doctors in the pursuit of health and wellness. Perhaps the best way to help protect oneself is through being an important member of the healthcare team. Research shows that patients who are involved with the care and procedures given to them by the doctor suffer less helps the doctor think sharp and commit fully to their treatment. Other methods of helping the doctors in the provision of personal healthcare include keeping information open to the doctor, asking questions about medications, taking personal responsibility as ensuring that you choose the best doctor for the purpose ( family org pages 1-3).
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Laurence, Jeremy. "Doctors' Basic Errors Are Killing 1,000 Patients a Month." NHS. N.p., 3 Oct. 2013. Web. 3 Oct. 2013.
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