Medical Error Research
Here are a few of the many articles
on medical errors in the U.S.:
Nat'l Academies: Medication Errors Injure 1.5 Million People Annually
Five years later, medical errors still a leading killer
In Hospital Deaths from Medical Errors at 195,000 per Year USA
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
Don’t be afraid to do research and learn about
the condition. Prepare yourself with appropriate questions for your
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
• Don’t be afraid to ask anyone involved in your care
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
• 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)
Can Help Your Family Prevent Medical Errors!
Infections in the Hospital: What you as a patient can do
You Can Do To Make Health Care Safer
As You Go From Hospital To Home
Safety and Service - What You Should Expect
of the Patient Advocate
PULSE Teen Healthcare Advocates
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
To order your Teen Brochures,