Patient Safety Awareness Week 2016, which runs from March 13 to March 19, is a weeklong awareness program designed to bring attention to the issue of ensuring safe medical care and promoting patient involvement. This year’s theme is "United for Patient Safety."
What are some of the goals of Patient Safety Awareness Week?
Reducing the number of medical mistakes professionals make
This means that both patients and doctors need to ensure they convey appropriate communications and background information. Patients need to be open and honest with their medical professionals, and these professionals need to ensure they have the skills and knowledge to both treat their patients' conditions and educate them as to the potential side effects of any treatment.
Implementing proper safeguards
This can help avoid wrong site surgeries and other surgical mistakes; medication mix-ups or poor interactions; or other medical errors. This means double-checking surgical sites, taking time to review all of a patient's current prescriptions, and taking time to talk to patients and their families to ensure everyone understands what the treatment is, what recovery will entail, and what side effects may be.
This refers to both medical staff and patients. It is a continuing responsibility of medical providers to maintain current best practices and the appropriate standard of care for patients.
Patients, on the other hand, have the duty to ask questions and ensure they understand what their care is supposed to be and how their medications are supposed to work.
Many patients seem to be afraid to advocate for themselves and question their doctors but this is a necessary part of the process. Patients need to be comfortable asking questions until they understand the answers and not be afraid to question whether other options exist.
What if I am the victim of medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice, sadly, is a real problem in our society when patients are at the mercy of their medical providers. While most medical providers are genuinely interested in the care and safety of their patients, the fact remains that the trust placed in these professionals means they have a duty of care to perform to the standard of practice in their industry.
If these professionals do not perform to the best of their ability, they can and should be accountable. If you believe you are the victim of medical malpractice, make sure you contact a medical malpractice attorney today.