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Medical Mistakes & Errors: Staying Safe by Preventing Medical Mistakes

According to the Institute of Medicine, between 44,000 and 98,000 Americans die each year from medical errors. An additional 100,000 die from needless infections, according to the CDC. Knowing the possibilities for medical mistakes leads to prevention and safety.

How To Tell and Share Your Patient Story about Bad Medical Care
Once we or a loved one has suffered a terrible situation during medical care - an adverse event, an arrogant doctor - whatever it might be, then we want to tell our story. Here is some great background information to help you share stories - guidelines and places to share.

Medical Errors -- Compromising Patient Safety
There are 28 medical errors that can occur in a hospital or medical care setting that should never happen. This is the master list of those errors from the National Quality Forum.

What Are Adverse Medical Events?
Adverse medical events are the foundation for the patient safety movement and are defined both by the events themselves and their outcomes.

How to Ask Doctors and Other Providers to Wash Their Hands

Issues in Patient Safety
The health and well-being of a patient can be violated by problems with patient safety. Drug errors, infections, surgeries gone awry and other mistakes can result in injuries to patients and even death.

Medical Errors - Serious Reportable Events, Never Events and Adverse Events
The National Quality Forum maintains a list of SREs, Serious Reportable Medical Events, formerly called Never Events, which should never happen to a patient when accessing medical care.

MRSA, C.Diff, VRE, CRKP and Other Superbug Hospital Acquired Infections
MRSA, C.Diff, CRKP and other superbug infections are acquired in hospitals and now in the community, too. Patients need to be aware of their origins and how to avoid them.

CRE (CRKP) Superbug Infection Found in Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities
CRE, also called CRKP is relatively new infection being spread to patients in hospitals all over the world, and now in the United States, too. Understanding the origin of the infection goes a long way toward stopping the spread to someone you love.

How to Prevent Hospital-Acquired Infections
The best approach for avoiding hospital acquired infections is to prevent them to begin with. Patients can play a big role in avoiding infections themselves. Here are some steps to help you prevent hospital acquired infections.

A Safe Surgery Guide for Patients - How to Prevent Surgical Mistakes
Learn how to keep yourself safe during surgery.

Prescription Drug Errors Take Lives
According to the Institute of Medicine, drug errors affect 1.5 million Americans each year in hospitals alone. There are steps patients can take to be sure they are receiving the right drug, in the right dosage.

Coping With Grief - From Difficult Diagnoses to Medical Errors and Mistakes
Life brings tragedies, whether they come from a terminal diagnosis, to a diagnosis of a chronic disease, to dealing with loss or long-term harm resulting from a medical error or mistake or any other cause. There are some steps and stages we can identify and use, defined by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, to help us transition through the grief those...

Proactive Survivorship - The Sixth Stage of Grief, a Catharsis for Anger
Elizabeth Kubler Ross wrote about five stages of grief which are the steps most people take to get past a difficult or tragic occurrence in their lives. But some people go on to do amazing works with their grief - they use their anger as a catharsis to survive their tragedy in very positive ways. Read about proactive survivors, specifically in relation to healthcare difficulties.

Proactive Survivor Stories - Making Lemonade from Medical Error Lemons
When patients or families are victims of a medical error, they suffer through Kubler-Ross's five stages of grief. But those who take their bad experiences and create something good from them go beyond those stages into a sixth stage - proactive survivorship - the step of turning their negative experiences into something good for others. These...

Misdiagnosis -- What is Misdiagnosis?
Patients are misdiagnosed too often and most don't realize they are at risk of misdiagnosis. Learn how misdiagnosis happens, and what a wise patient can do to prevent being misdiagnosed.

The VICP - National Vaccine Injury Compensation Fund Program
Each year, hundreds of Americans are harmed by vaccinations using vaccines that were supposed to prevent disease. The US government provides a no-fault trust fund to compensate some of these victims. We've answered some frequently asked questions about the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Fund Program.

Is It Time to Change Doctors? Perhaps a New Doctor Can Diagnose You
There are a number of reasons a patient may decide to change doctors, and failure to diagnose may be one. Sometimes it's a necessity, and others it's a choice. Learn about good reasons for making changes and the first steps toward a smooth transition.

The Institute of Medicine Report: To Err is Human
This watershed report from the US Institute of Medicine fueled the patient empowerment movement. Learn why it is so important to understanding patient empowerment.

Learn About Medicare's 2008 Never Events Policy
In 2008, Medicare instituted a never events policy intended to improve patient safety, refusing to pay for certain types of patient safety violations that occur in hospitals.

Anxiety or Post Traumatic Stress from Medical Errors or Bad Medical E…
A medical error, or any horribly negative medical experience, is a traumatic event. Many who suffer at the hands of the medical system, whether it's a surgical mistake, misdiagnosis, a drug error, or any other form of medical mistake or bad experience with a provider, suffer for years from extreme anxiety attacks, even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Here readers share their stories of anx… See submissions

How the Calendar and Time of Day Affect Hospital Medical Mistakes
Certain times of the year, and certain times of the day are known to be more dangerous for hospital patients than others. Learn when to avoid the hospital, and how to keep yourself safe if you end up there anyway.

Emergency Room 101
Millions of people find themselves in a hospital emergency room each year. You never know when it will happen to you! Reading and understanding these emergency room tips will help make your stay in the ER shorter, and may provide you with better care.

Hospital Infection - Have you been infected during a hospital stay?
According to the US Centers for Disease Control, 101,000 Americans die from hospital acquired infections like MRSA, C. Diff or VRE each year. Have you or a loved one experienced an infection? How did you know you were infected? How did the hospital take care of you? Have you been able to recover? Please share your story to help others.

How to Choose the Best Hospital for You
When it comes time to be tested or treated in the hospital, it's best to make a serious effort to choose the hospital where we will receive the most effective and safest care.

How to Confirm or Debunk Claims Made in Email, Blogs or Social Media
Emails and social media posts, like those in Facebook or Twitter, make questionable claims, and we don't know whether to believe them. They get forwarded or linked over and over again. It's difficult to tell how much truth they may contain, so it's time to learn how to confirm or debunk the claims we find in email, blogs or other social media.

I Got a Flu Shot, So Why Did I Get the Stomach Flu?
Each year, many of us try to avoid getting a flu shot by explaining that we once got a flu shot, but we got the stomach flu anyway. Learn why this isn't a good excuse for avoiding a flu shot.

How Did you Confirm or Debunk a Scam or Bogus Email or Post?
Readers share their stories of scam emails and social media posts, and how they confirmed or debunked them. See submissions

Why Young, Healthy People Need Flu Shots
Each year, thousands die from the flu, even though they have been immunized. They die because those around them, including their loved ones, are carriers, even though they are asymptomatic. The answer is "herd immunity."

How-To's for EmPatients - Skills that Can Make You an Empowered Patient
Nobody teaches us to be empowered patients. We emPatients (e-patients) must empower ourselves. Here are some of the skills and how-to's that will help you make smart decisions, turning you into an empowered patient.

Medical Errors, Adverse Events and the National Quality Forum
It's important to understand how medical errors or mistakes are viewed by the healthcare system both to help us patients prevent them, and to understand better why those who work in the healthcare system want to avoid letting them happen.

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