How to Avoid Becoming a Medical Mistake


IstockphotoFrom Health magazine

Medical mistakes cause nearly 100,000 deaths every year. One of those fatalities was Josie King, an 18-month-old whose mother has recently written a book to help other patients—large and small—avoid danger. Josies Story: A Mothers Inspiring Crusade to Make Medical Care Safe includes lots of stay-safe tips, including these:

1. Take notes
Keep track of names of staff, medications, test results, and procedures on a notepad or in your iPhone (or have a loved one do it). The minute youre confused, demand clarification.

2. Insist on hand-washing
Hospital-acquired infections like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) account for 99,000 deaths every year. So when a doctor or nurse comes into the room, ask her to wash her hands before she touches you.

3. Hello, my name is …
Identify yourself constantly. Whenever the nurse (or anyone treating you) gives you meds or anything else, make sure she checks your hospital-issued ID bracelet and then ask her, “Is this for me? My name is _____.” The average patient experiences one drug mistake in the hospital every day.