Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Health Care Accountability

If anyone reading today's post has NEVER encountered a problem within the health care system, congratulations!

I am not trying to be coy here with my suggestion that things do happen within our health care systems, but the reality is, THEY DO!  The more time you spend in the system as a patient, the more problems you will encounter.  The same is true for caregivers like myself who accompany these patients to hospitals and who know from first hand experiences that costly mistakes are all too common, putting patients lives in the balance.

I guess for someone who is exposed to hospitals and health care for a short time, it's not at the top of your list that you should be diligent in your care.  After several years though, you do see things from a different perspective.  My husband has been in our health care system for 10 years now....that's alot of hospital stays, doctor visits, testing and stress.  Count your blessings if you haven't been there that long. 

Throughout those 10 years, he has received some excellent care, but it only takes one bad experience to put you on high aleart and over this period of time, there have been a few.  At the beginning of his health scare, we didn't even give a thought to questioning anything that health care providers told us, we didn't have the slightest thought that mistakes could happen and to be honest, I never imagined that me as caregiver, could ever encounter so many errors along his journey.  So, my advice here is for everyone to be diligent about your health care and be asserive if you think something just isn't right.  Don't be afraid to speak up!

One BIG problem that I continuously hear from just about every cancer patient is "I had tests earlier, but I was told it was nothing and sent home"!   Yes, we have heard that as well.  This leads me to wonder just who is reading these diagnostic tests, are the tests completel as thoroughly as they should be, are patients given the proper tests right from the start (saving money shouwl not be the issues, because if the proper diagnosis isn't made, then the health care costs become enormous) and why in the heck are there so many errors made by not discovering the cancer BEFORE it becomes full blown?  I know sometimes it may be impossible to detect certain cancers, but in our situation my husband was checked and rechecked for several years prior to his terminal diagnosis, only to discover that when he became physically sick, they finally did the right test and determined the cancer was back with a vengeance.  Early detection is vital for cancer patients - therefore accurate testing and diagnostic reporting is essential from the Get-Go !

Any mistakes that are found within our health care sectors should be acted upon immediately!  Everyone involved should be made aware of these errors and accountability should and must be enacted ---- accountability so that these errors do not ever happen again and it should be a learning curve for our health care professionals to improve the care of all patients. 

So...here's another huge mistake that I recently encountered while my husband was in emergency, too sick to understand what was going on around him.  A nurse rushes into his cubicle with IV bag in hand, ready to give my husband his antibiotics.  She casually says out loud "Here I am Mr. X, with your meds" -  the problem was that my husband was "Mr. Y and NOT Mr. X"  !!!!!     I immediately recognized the nurses mistake and told her the correct name.  She was so apologetic for her lack of professionalism in NOT checking his wrist band to ensure she indeed had the correct patient.  If I had not been there, who knows what meds my husband would have received that day, and no doubt if it would have caused a fatal outcome, I would have gotten a call to say "Sorry, but your husband passed away due to cancer"!!!!

I could ramble on with a few other very serious scenerios, but just the above one should be enough to make you realize that you must become very cognizant to the fact that mistakes can and do happen within our health care system.  It is up to us to bring it to the attention of those in authority so that nothing like that happens ever again. 

We are all human, and misjudgements happen you might say, but when someone's life is in the balance, those responsible should ensure that these wrongdoings DO NOT ever happen!

If you have ever had a problem within your health care system, why don't you share it with us via the comments section or post it directly on the chat forum.


Meya said...

Oh my that does not sound like a very responsible act to get a patient's name mixed up like that.

health insurance australia said...

"Any mistakes that are found within our health care sectors should be acted upon immediately!" While I can only agree to this, I don't know how exactly can we completely eliminate human error. Be a bit more forgiving, perhaps?

health insurance plans said...

The article isn't saying we should gravely punish errors. I agree that action must be taken in order to reduce these errors and provide better health care.

Chris said...

I also experienced working in a nursing home and I understand how difficult it is to deal with people suffering from different illnesses. However, the job is definitely rewarding.

Nursing Homes in NJ

hospice care said...

Rewarding is an understatement, Chris, the fulfillment working in a nursing home exceeds that of climbing the corporate ladder.