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Protect Your Health and Life From Medical Mistakes

February 20, 2007 | 3,267 views

USA Today recently profiled a young Chicago woman who has experienced many preventable medical mistakes first-hand during hospital stays.

Due to a rare, congenital heart condition, this patient makes a trip to the hospital, unfortunately, at least once a month. Because of her experiences at these error-filled visits -- often involving improper testing or being given the wrong medication -- she wears a medical alert bracelet and takes a "resume" (describing her medical history and allergies) with her.

Approximately 34 percent of people say that either they or their families have experienced a medical error. The number rises to 50 percent for those with chronic illnesses, and hospitalized patients experience, on average, at least one medication error a day.

Between 44,000 and 98,000 Americans die each year as a result of medical errors. And while nearly 2 million U.S. patients catch an infection from the hospital each year, and about 90,000 die, only 35 percent of hospital employees wash their hands before touching a patient.
 

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

I warned you recently about how frequently medical errors occur, often because many doctors rely on preloaded cookie-cutter recipes for many health conditions and don't deviate from them.

The woman in the USA Today article very likely saved her own life by being alert. After repeated warnings to health care workers during a recent hospital visit about her allergic reaction to morphine, she learned that she was being given morphine anyway by questioning the nurse delivering it.

Human error is behind the spike in prescription-related deaths at the beginning of each month, and mortality rates fall when doctors go on strike. You know the system needs changing when the majority of health care workers observe mistakes made by their peers but rarely do anything to challenge them.

That's why I urge you to begin taking better ownership of your health by avoiding the drug-oriented paradigm that passes for conventional medicine. Remember that the conventional medical system, not heart disease or cancer, is the leading cause of death in this country.

It is time you start taking control of your health by following simple guidelines that can help you recover your health and progress to high-level wellness.

On Vital Votes, reader Jessica from Bellevue, Washington states:

"We all need to be advocates for our own health (and those of our loved ones), in part by rejecting the 'doctor knows best' mentality pushed on us by the medical industry and the culture at large, and also by continuing to educate ourselves on how best to achieve and maintain good health ...

"thank you, Dr Mercola for helping to this end!"

And Mary from Cabool, Missouri adds:

"Having a severely handicapped child who has had more than his fair share of hospitalizations, though not 1 a month, there are many times I refused to let the staff give him medications that the doctor ordered.  The thing I had the most trouble with is his diet. 

"He is highly allergic to cow's milk, all forms, but does well on raw goat's milk.  Every time he is in the hospital we always get something with milk in it and almost every day."

 

Other responses to this article can be viewed at Vital Votes, and you can add your own thoughts or vote on comments by first registering at Vital Votes.


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