Prioritising Patient Safety: Strategies for Stopping Medical Mistakes in Their Tracks

Most doctor mistakes happen when either diagnosing or prescribing medications. While you should be able to trust your doctor, you can’t always just take his or her word for it that the advice you’re getting won’t have consequences. Here’s how to avoid mistakes and make sure your visit to the doctor actually helps.


How Errors Occur


Most errors are either diagnostic or prescription-related. In other words, the doctor either fails to diagnose a condition in time, fails to make the right diagnosis, or fails to prescribe the correct drugs.


These errors sometimes stem from an internal error in the doctor’s medical records system. But, other times, it has to do with the doctor’s experience with your particular medical condition. There are also times when a doctor simply makes a mistake.


Give The Doctor Full Disclosure


When a doctor doesn’t make a mistake, the issue may be a lack of information. When you visit your doctor, it’s important to trust him or her fully with your medical information and background. Always disclose every medical fact, even when you don’t think it’s relevant.


Unless you’re a trained physician, and even if you are, it’s often impossible to know how to piece together medical information. You might not think that your cough has anything to do with your weird toe issues. But, the two might actually be related.

Question Everything


Make sure you ask lots of questions. If you suspect medical negligence, don’t jump at the chance to sue your physician, but definitely speak openly about it with him or her. You might also want to talk with an attorney if you think the error could have been prevented by the doctor or if the mistake was primarily, or wholly, the doctor’s fault.


Ask your doctor questions like:


“Is there any reason you believe your diagnosis might be wrong?”

“Is there anything that could contradict your diagnosis?”

“What tests can we do to confirm your diagnosis?”


If your doctor gets defensive, it’s a bad sign. Many doctors welcome the challenge of proving that their hypothesis is correct. Some have a superiority complex, and don’t like to be questioned. If yours doesn’t like you asking so many questions, it’s time to find a new doctor.



Make Sure You Get Tested


It’s somewhat common for a doctor to prescribe antibiotics without ever testing for the presence of bacteria. There was a time when this was medically safer than actually waiting for a culture to come back. But, today, with antibiotic resistance on the rise, it’s a better to actually confirm the presence of bacteria.


When you take a course of antibiotics, it’s known to cause a disruption of gut bacteria – this includes both health and pathogenic bacteria. So, if you do not have a bacterial infection, you might be inviting one – especially if you have a viral infection.
This is because your immune system might already be fighting off an infection, or be compromised in some other way, which invites a pathogenic bacteria to grow and take hold.


So, always ask your doctor to get a culture done when possible to confirm the presence of bacteria. As a bonus, your doctor can use targeted antibiotics to kill any infection that’s found instead of using broad spectrum drugs which are more likely to kill beneficial bacteria along with the harmful ones.


Alisha Myers works as a medical technician. She enjoys sharing her experiences in the health field. Her posts can be found mostly on health blog sites.


Article Submitted By Community Writer


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