A study published earlier this year in the journal BMJ claims that medical errors are this nation’s third leading cause of death, behind heart disease and cancer. Researchers from Johns Hopkins found that medical errors, defined as “preventable adverse effect[s] of care,” cause up to 250,000 deaths a year.
They attributed these deaths to adverse instances such as using the wrong treatment plan, the failure to complete a planned action as intended, or a mistaken action.
We would also add medication errors to the list, whether a person is prescribed a duplicate medication or the pharmacy makes a mistake filling a prescription.
These details are sobering, but not very surprising to those of us in the health care field. Unfortunately, we do see medical errors on a regular basis, although relatively few of them are deadly.
Everybody Needs A Nurse makes it our mission to prevent medical errors for our clients. We work in the hospital and in the home to make sure that plans are carried out, that medications are correctly filled and appropriate, and that nothing is overlooked.
And our own data has shown our approach works. We compared medical errors in the year before we were brought into our cases to the year after, and through our vigilance, the rate of errors fell dramatically, to zero.
No medical errors–that’s a result to be proud of! Let’s hope the medical system finds a way to reach that goal.