Among doctors and medical professionals, safety should be the number one concern when it comes to working with their patients. However, sometimes this is not always the case as mistakes can be made which can inadvertently hurt the patient. From March 8th to the 14th the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) is having an annual recognition event (Patient Safety Awareness Week) which is intended to encourage those who seek medical care to learn more about healthcare safety.
Just as we are told to beware what we consume (whether it is buying electronics, a car, etc.), we should also be aware of the medical professionals we deal with. Patient safety should be the main concern when it comes to receiving medical care. Just because we might lose some control to whatever illness we may develop; this does not mean we have to lose all control. During Patient Safety Awareness Week, the IHI seeks to increase important discussions regarding patient safety both locally and globally to improve the safety of the health care system. The IHI’s goal is to help the public recognize the need to understand the different aspects of their healthcare and safety and help reduce mistakes.
Although there has been real progress made in patient safety over the past two decades, medical harm is still the leading cause of death worldwide. For this reason, we should focus not just during this week but every week on how we can be safer when it comes to medical care. At some point in your life, everyone ends up interacting with the health care system in some way. Unfortunately, medical mistakes will happen varying from a misdiagnosis to someone giving you the wrong medication or treatment. As the patient, if you are not sure about something or you feel there is something not quite right, you must speak up to prevent errors. It is always good to ask questions or seek a second opinion from another medical professional.
It is important for all of us to understand and be aware of how everyone can have a role in further advancing health care safety. As patients, we have the right to inquire about our medication or treatment. If you feel uneasy, there is nothing wrong with asking another doctor for advice before you go through with anything.
For more information on patient safety week, click here.
Article written by William Graves.