The Doctors 3/28/12 Live Recap: Medical Mistakes

Today, The Doctors are giving us more health-related information, specifically on ways to prevent medical mistakes. Neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins the panel of experts to share information on how to watch out for doctor’s common mistakes. Plus: warning signs of prescription drug abuse, and more, so keep it here only on Nerdles!

The show begins with a new doctor with the panel, neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta. He discusses his new book, “Monday Mornings”, where he shares how doctors respond when medical mistakes are made. Dr. Travis explains that the doctors would spend Monday mornings on an M and M conference. It’s a morbidity and mortality conference where physicians get together and talk about things that gone well, have not gone well, and mistakes in the hospital. Dr. Gupta shares that he wrote a fictional story in order to be completely free to dive into this subject matter. He says that he does not intend to implicate any hospital or doctor, but his purpose is to give people something they’ve never seen before.

The Doctors and Dr. Gupta continue to discuss how doctors would order lots of tests do procedures and prescribe medications may not be necessary. But Dr. Gupta thinks that because of all these tests and procedures, more mistakes happen. Dr. Ordon thinks that more government action for checks and balance is necessary in order to further reduce these mistakes.

Back on the show, a controversial story hits headlines when a man suffering from a lung tumor went through surgery, only to find out that his doctor inadvertently operated on the wrong lung. The man was supposed to have his left lung tumor operated on, but the doctor did the procedure on his right lung! The surgeon never admitted to this mistake, and evidence shows that he may have altered the patient’s medical records to show that a life-threatening growth was present on the lung that he operated on. Consequently, this mistake led to the patient’s death. It took 8 years for the medical board to suspend his license for only 2 years! After a couple of years, this doctor will be able to practice again. So be careful, guys! A thorough research on your doctor might also help save you and your loved one’s lives.

The Doctors advices all patients to prepare for surgery to avoid the same mistake that happened to this man. They say a one to two month preparation before the actual procedure should be sufficient to know all the details of the operation. Dr. Lisa says that the most critical part should be the pre-operation stages of the surgery, where doctors can go over the whole process to be performed on the patient, and for patients to be able to address all their concerns and clarifications with their doctors. Third prevention to avoid medical mistakes is to make sure to call for laboratory results. They say its best to know when the results of these procedures will come out, and to make sure to pick up results on time. Dr. Travis suggests to always keep a USB in hand so you can store medical test results in them. It can also save you money as you won’t have to repeat the same medical procedures that different physicians may require.

Second on the list: know your medication. They say it is important to keep track of all medication intakes to avoid over-dose or forgetting to take them at all. One suggestion would be to put a reminder on your smart phones or to take pictures of each pill for familiarization. It is important to know all the names, dosage and side effects of each medication. And first on the list is to take charge of your own check-up! Dr. Ordon says it is best to come prepared before coming in the doctor’s office by listing down questions you may have in mind, and discuss them with the physician at the beginning of the consultation. It may also be helpful for the patient to take down notes while listening to the doctor. Don’t ever leave any doubts and make sure to be specific are other tips shared by the experts.

Now, Dr. Travis shares that prescription pain medications kill twice as many people as cocaine does and five times as many people as heroine users each year. In line with this, an osteopathic physician named Dr. Lisa Tseng is charged with three counts of second degree murder after three of her patients, including a senior college student, Joey Revero died from prescription drug overdose. Dr. Travis explains that mixing multiple drugs can slower the brain down, and causes other body functions to slow down as well.

Again, prevention is the best cure! So don’t forget these preventive ways to keep these mistakes from happening to you! Stay safe and informed with a daily dose of The Doctors, only here on Nerdles!

Photo courtesy of The Doctors.