Are Medical Errors Inevitable?

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According to Tatsiana Singh, PA-C, Indiana State University Sycamore Center for Wellness, at an individual level, each Physician Assistant (PA) or healthcare provider should aim at staying up-to-date, reflecting on their workdays, and discerning whether there was a situation that was a close call and how it could be prevented in the future. Being a good team player is critical for PAs particularly and not being frightened to solicit another opinion and verify the diagnosis.

According to Tatsiana Singh, PA-C, Indiana State University Sycamore Center for Wellness, at an individual level, each Physician Assistant (PA) or healthcare provider should aim at staying up-to-date, reflecting on their workdays, and discerning whether there was a situation that was a close call and how it could be prevented in the future. “Being a good team player is critical for PAs particularly and not being frightened to solicit another opinion and verify the diagnosis.”

Measures are taken at individual facilities level, and those protocols in place in the emergency department, medical floors, and pharmacies are helpful to eliminate errors. Although there isn’t a “good effort” on the national scale, there are some efforts to encourage facilities to report medical errors and do root-cause analysis to avoid those in the future.

Singh believed that the management of medical errors is getting worse; healthcare is becoming more complex. Since there are many participants and so many parts in healthcare where a simple step like medication administration would involve multiple participants who are human, it’s important to note that humans are susceptible to error, so errors are inevitable. As such, clinicians should work toward creating environments that would make errors very difficult to happen in work places to save patients’ lives.

According to Singh, hospitals are dangerous places and patients should try to stay healthy and avoid hospitals and doctors’ offices. “But if you can’t help it and you end up in a hospital, be a very active participant of your healthcare and don’t hesitate to ask questions and verify what medications are being administered, how it’s being ordered, and why it’s being administered.”

These are just examples of how patients should really scrutinize what is being done to them, because they end up being victims of incompetencies or system failures, Singh concluded.

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