"To Err is Human" is Understandable Until That Human is Your Doctor

"To Err is Human" is Understandable Until That Human is Your Doctor

Mar 03, 2024

In 2000, there was a very disturbing and eye-opening report published by the Institute of Medicine (US) Committee (referred to as the IOM Report) that shared details with the world on the failing quality of healthcare in our country. *

That publication broke the silence on what was happening behind hospital sliding doors. It stated that every year, approximately 98,000 people die from medical errors in hospitals, surpassing the number of deaths from motor vehicle accidents, breast cancer, or AIDS. Despite this high number, medical errors receive less public attention than these other causes. Shockingly, medication errors alone result in more deaths annually than workplace injuries. When considering both the human toll and financial impact, medical errors emerge as one of the most pressing and widespread public issues.

Now, remember, that report was published in 2000 so you would think that conditions would take a dramatic shift in correcting the problem now that it is wide open for all to see. Or was it wide open? In my opinion, far too many people, who end up being the typical patient being seen by medical experts, do NOT care to know anything other than what they are being told!

All too often, patients are putting their entire lives into the hands of a total stranger, whom they may have just met, yet they don't feel the need to ask them any questions--whether it is about that person's credentials or about the diagnosis they've just been handed. It doesn't matter how many diplomas are hanging on someone's wall, NOBODY knows your body better than you! So you should not be so intimidated by the white coat that you feel you cannot question everything that is being done to you or your loved one, AND request a second opinion if it comes down to that.

Some people would fire their auto mechanic for a mistake made faster than they would ever fire their doctor. In fact, I know of three cases personally where the family should've and could've rightfully filed a malpractice suit due to the death of their loved one by medical mistreatment, yet they did not file!! Ugh!

Because patients are not taking a stand for their health and for their lives (mainly because they are refusing to believe how common it is for errors to occur by these experts) the death toll is escalating! The problem that was first brought to the general public in the way of 98,000 preventable deaths each year--due to sloppy work, not enough dedication to one's work, inadequately skilled staff, or cracks in the healthcare system--has now escalated to a whopping 250,000+ innocent people per year, as of 2023, who are killed due to errors in hospitals and other medical facilities!

Patient safety within our healthcare deliverance must be improved. And it MUST start with patients demanding it!
I speak about this a lot, as a self-proclaimed patient advocate who researches a lot of things all the time. I needed to share these facts with you so you don't think I'm making this up. This most recent report of 250,000 deaths was provided by a Johns Hopkins study. Other reports claim the numbers to be as high as 440,000, especially after that COVID craziness.

Medical errors are the third-leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer but you're certainly not hearing about it, right? So, now that you do have this knowledge, what will you do?

*To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System. Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Quality of Health Care in America
Linda T. Kohn, Janet M. Corrigan, Molla S. Donaldson, editors.Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2000.