Medical Error Research
Here are a few of the many articles on medical errors in the U.S.:

IOM- Nat'l Academies: Medication Errors Injure 1.5 Million People Annually (July '06) Five years later, medical errors still a leading killer
HealthGrades: In Hospital Deaths from Medical Errors at 195,000 per Year USA
IOM- Nat'l Academies: To Err Is Human (2000)

What Can I Do?
You can help protect yourself and your family from medical errors. The most important way you can do this is to talk. Talk to your doctor, nurse, and other health care workers.
• Tell them important things about your health.
• Ask them questions.
• Make decisions about your health care with them.

If you have been diagnosed with a disease or a chronic condition, some places you may want to look to become educated are local or national support groups or organizations associated with the condition.

Don’t be afraid to do research and learn about the condition. Prepare yourself with appropriate questions for your healthcare provider.

Patient Safety Tips
If you have been involved with patient safety for a while, then you know that there are hundreds of “tips” for patients and families to follow to avoid medical errors. Medication errors and infections. But what are some of the most important? PULSE asked healthcare professionals to share the most important precautions that we should follow. Here is a brief list of PULSE Patient Safety Tips:

• Hand washing and hand sanitizing are key to patient safety and avoiding spread
   of infections. Make sure everyone who touches you has washed their hands.
• Understand your treatment plan and expected outcomes for all conditions.
• Don’t be afraid to ask anyone involved in your care to repeat
   or explain what they said to you.
• Make sure that all of your doctors know about all medications you are taking    including prescription, over-the-counter medicines, and dietary supplements
   such as vitamins and herbs.
• Before leaving your pharmacy, open the bag and check for your name and the    name of the medication. Be sure you understand the instructions. Ask if there    may be any interactions with other medications you are taking.
• Write down questions before entering a hospital or doctors office.
• Ask a friend or family member to be your “advocate” when you visit your doctor
   or when you go in the hospital. An advocate will be your eyes and ears and help    you listen to what the doctor and staff say to you. He or she will help get your    questions answered and be your champion should you need someone to ensure    your safe care.
• If you have a test, do not assume that no news is good news. Call the doctors    office and get results.
• Make sure that all health professionals involved in your healthcare have important    health information about you in written form and or verbally as needed.
• If you feel worse during or after receiving care, contact your doctor right away.    Keep notes of when you call and who you speak to. You should receive a call back    from your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

For an acrobat file of these Patient Safety Tips, click here.

Other Patient Safety Tips Information can be found at:
20 Tips to Help Prevent Medical Errors (PDF File, 222 KB)
Ways You Can Help Your Family Prevent Medical Errors!
Preventing Infections in the Hospital: What you as a patient can do
What You Can Do To Make Health Care Safer
Safety As You Go From Hospital To Home
Pharmacy Safety and Service - What You Should Expect
Role of the Patient Advocate

PULSE Teen Healthcare Advocates
The PULSE Teen Health Advocates are young people ages 11 to 18 who are becoming informed healthcare consumers and their own healthcare advocates. They gather information and brainstorm about healthcare issues and patient information that should be, but may not be, easily accessible to teens. The PULSE Teen Health Advocates initiative began among a group of teens from Long Island, New York.

By talking with teens who are almost ready to take responsibility for their own medical decisions, we are learning what it is about healthcare that contributes to people's confusion, fears or neglect of themselves and their own care. By reaching out to teens early, we can educate and support young people in becoming advocates for themselves, their friends and their family members and help reduce the rate of unexpected outcomes or adverse medical events.

To order your Teen Brochures, click here.


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