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Continued From Last Post
Is There Medical Negligence in our Medical System
“If you don’t know of a nurse, secretary, doctor, or technician that
works for a hospital that can give you this scoop on who’s really good, ask
some of these important questions.”
Dr. Makary suggests “For surgery, ask the following questions:
Do I really need this done?
When am I going to be back to feeling good?
What if I don’t have this procedure done?
Can I wait a year and see if this gets better?
What if I wait and then something develops in the interim?
How do we handle it that at that point and what are the odds of success then versus now?There’s a movement – a revolution – that we described in the book
Unaccountable, which is starting to provide useful information on websites,
so that patients can navigate the healthcare system.”
Safeguarding Your Care While Hospitalized
Once you’re hospitalized, you’re immediately at risk for medical errors,
so one of the best safeguards is to have someone there with you. Dr. Andrew
Saul has written an entire book on the issue of safeguarding your health
while hospitalized. Frequently, you’re going to be relatively debilitated,
especially post-op when you’re under the influence of anesthesia, and you
won’t have the opportunity to see the types of processes that are going on.
Dr. Makary agrees it’s important to have someone there to act as your
personal advocate, or to take the time to stay with your loved one who is
hospitalized. This is particularly important for pediatric patients, and the
“Sometimes, we rely on a competent talking patient to help verify
what we’re doing before we go in the operating room. But if we got somebody
who’s not mentally coherent because they’re elderly or a kid and there’s no
family member around, these are danger zones. These are high-risk areas for
medical mistakes,” Dr. Makary warns.
“It’s important to ask what procedure’s being done or why is the
procedure being done. 'Can I talk to the doctor?' You have a right to know
about what’s being done to you or your loved one in the hospital. When you’ve
got a kid in the hospital, I think it’s particularly important to ask the
For every medication given in the hospital, ask, “What is this
medication? What is it for? What’s the dose?” Take notes. Ask questions.
Building a relationship with the nurses can go a long way. Also, when they
realize they’re going to be questioned, they’re more likely to go through
that extra step of due diligence to make sure they’re getting it right—that’s
Pushing for Greater Transparency in HealthcareThe issue of transparency is a big focus of Dr. Makary’s book,
Unaccountable. In it, he discusses a number of ways transparency can be
improved, not only from an organization-hospital perspective, but also from
an individual position perspective.
We now have a lot of data metrics to measure healthcare quality, such as
different hospital’s infection rates, re-admission rates, patient
satisfaction scores, and surgical complication rates. According to Dr.
Makary, the ways to measure hospital performance are now maturing to the
point where they need to be available to the public, and he’s seeing a
“transparency revolution” starting to take place.
“I believe it’s going to reshape our entire healthcare landscape,” he
says. “Instead of choosing a hospital based on a billboard advertisement or
valet parking at a hospital, you should be able to look up a hospital’s
performance – their quality, their volumes, and their satisfaction [rate].
You know, 60 percent of New Yorkers will look up a restaurant’s ratings
before choosing a restaurant. Yet people are walking into the hospitals blind
to the hospital’s performance. We’re seeing an exciting revolution now in
healthcare. It’s a transparency revolution, and it’s really why I wrote this
Help for Victims of Preventable Medical Errors
Part of the nature of being human is that we make mistakes. No one is
perfect. Mistakes will be made. And with more transparency, these mistakes
will be known. So, what can you do should you find yourself a victim of a
preventable medical mistake? Dr. Makary suggests connecting with patient
Citizens for Patient Safety6
ProPublica Patient Harm7
Besides that, he suggests:
“Ask to talk to the doctor about that mistake. If you’re not
satisfied, write a letter or call the patient relations department. Every
hospital is mandated to have this service. They are set up to answer your
concerns. If you’re not satisfied with that, write a letter to the hospital’s
lawyer, the general council. And you will see attention to the issue, because
you’ve gone through the right channels.
We don’t want to encourage millions of lawsuits out there. But you
know, when people voice what happened, what went wrong, and the nature of the
preventable mistake, hospitals can learn from their mistakes. Sometimes
they’re taking a lot of attention now to prevent mistakes from happening
again. You should let that mistake be known.”
Thank You Dr. Mercola
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