A nurse and the system to deal with medical errors

by Mary Lynn Summer

I am a nurse. Like most medical practitioners, I am afraid of malpractice attorneys and view them as a threat to my nursing license. Every hospital has a system in place to deal with medical errors and patient complaints. I used to think they worked, but now I don’t.

My mother, in her late 80s, recently broke her hip. She has dementia so is unable to appropriately express …

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Medical errors that involve handwritten prescriptions

by Daphne Swancutt

Two people in the United States just died in the last hour. Seventeen more will die in the next 7 to 8 hours. Over a year, that number will accumulate to about 7,000.

The reason? Medical errors that include misread or otherwise misinterpreted handwritten prescriptions. Believe it. This means that doctors are being sloppy, pharmacies are making mistakes and people are getting dead.

Even more …

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Quit smoking in 2011: 5 steps you need to know

by Paul M. Cinciripini, PhD

If you smoke, quitting the habit is the best New Year’s resolution you could make — and keep — in 2011. That’s true even if you’re just a social smoker.

A new report from the Surgeon General shows that even occasional smoking and secondhand smoke cause immediate damage to the body.

The good news is that people who stop smoking before age 50 cut their risk of dying …

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Infant resuscitation in the ED

by VeronicaB, MD

A baby died today;  a very small infant.  One minute I’m excited by the end of my overnight shift quickly approaching, and the next I am hearing the words you never want to hear come over the radio, “En route to home for infant not breathing.”  I think the whole ED staff stopped for a minute waiting for the next report.

Then we begin to …

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Physician time should be considered a resource

Being a physician always has been a busy job.

This is especially true for primary care physicians who set as their goal the delivery and coordination of comprehensive care for patients. Achieving such a goal requires availability, a broad spectrum of medical knowledge, effective use of the local health care system, and attention to both the “big picture” and the details of a patient’s life and …

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Accountable care organization (ACO) and medical home differences

by Kevin Fickenscher, MD

In the great healthcare alphabet soup, it’s easy to lose sight of the differences between proposed solutions for making healthcare more efficient and effective.

Rather than tackling payment reform in isolation of care delivery, Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and Medical Homes offer a consolidated approach to both issues. While the models are still developing, various pilot programs are being implemented around the …

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Health blog posts of the week, ending December 12, 2010

Here are the top posts from this past week, based on the number of times they were viewed.

1. $11,000 hospital bill from the emergency department. “What am I going to do now Doc?” asked Mike, a down on his luck, 29 year–old recently unemployed truck driver, as he handed me his hospital bill.

2. 10 most expensive errors in healthcare settings. In the US, avoidable medical errors added …

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