What to Know About Central Line Infections

Central line blood infections are responsible for thousands of deaths each year. Also known as a central venous catheter, central lines are placed in veins near the chest, neck or groin. A central line is inserted into a vein close to the heart to provide medicine or collect blood. These are not to be confused with IVs, which are generally placed near the arm or hands to provide fluids or medicines. A blood infection can occur when pathogens (a virus or bacteria) enter the bloodstream through the central line. There are multiple reasons why central-line infections may occur. Poor sanitation….

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Most Common Nursing Errors and How to Avoid Them

Nurses have one of the most grueling (and often thankless) jobs in America. They deal with cranky patients, field countless distractions, frequently work 12-hour shifts and often suffer from fatigue—which unfortunately also makes them susceptible to making mistakes. While most nurses have the best intentions toward their patients (even the cranky ones), the best among them sometimes fail to provide the best care—which is why patients and their families must be watchful and diligent. Let’s look at a few of the most common nursing errors to watch for. Medication Errors Administering medicine incorrectly is one of the most common nursing…

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What are Common Medical Mistakes in Emergency Rooms?

Emergency rooms are one of the most important pillars of our nation’s health care infrastructure. In fact, more than 100 million people are treated in US emergency rooms each year. While emergency rooms are a critical aspect of our national health care system, they are also facilities that may be rife with medical errors. Common medical mistakes in emergency rooms include but are not limited to: Diagnostic errors. You could receive an incorrect diagnosis in an emergency room. These medical facilities may be overloaded with patients and understaffed. As a result, doctors may not spend as much time with patients….

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What Could Cause a Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis?

An estimated one in eight women in the US will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. Breast cancer is common in the US and throughout the world. Women who receive an early diagnosis of breast cancer can begin treatment when the disease is still in its early stages. Early treatment leads to better outcomes. A delayed diagnosis of breast cancer could allow the cancer to metastasize to other parts of the body. There are cases where women (and men) with breast cancer receive a delayed diagnosis. Possible reasons for a delayed diagnosis of breast cancer include but are not…

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How Fatigue Can Affect Your Doctor’s Judgment—And What You Can Do to Protect Yourself

The medical profession has some glaring gaps when it comes to patient safety—and one of the biggest is the lack of protections against doctor fatigue. Hospital physicians and nurses are among the most overworked and under-rested people in our work force today. Studies repeatedly show that adults require 7-9 hours of sleep per night for optimum health. When you consider that resident doctors typically work 80-100 hours a week and frequently work for up to 28 hours at a time, you realize that they aren’t getting anywhere near these amounts of sleep. Under these conditions, even the most competent doctors…

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Antibiotic Use and Misuse in Hospitals (Part 2: Protecting Yourself)

Despite repeated warnings issued by researchers, the CDC and the WHO about the overuse of antibiotics in the healthcare sector, recent numbers have shown that doctors continue to prescribe unnecessary antibiotics at alarming rates. However, there are signs of hope. Let’s continue to explore this problem and discuss what you can do to protect yourself. Why Are Antibiotics Still Overprescribed? According to Pew Research, many doctors continue to ignore or gloss over CDC warnings in their immediate interactions with patients. The reasons vary, but they can usually be tied to other inherent flaws in our healthcare system. For example, doctors…

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Antibiotic Use and Misuse in Hospitals (Part 1: Is Anything Changing?)

For years now, watchdogs and researchers have been sounding the alarm about the overuse of antibiotics in the healthcare industry causing an increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria commonly called “superbugs”—a phenomenon that has been well-documented over the years. The nagging question: What has changed since this news came to light? What is being done to reverse the trend of antibiotic misuse in our hospitals? The answer: Not much, if recent news reports are correct. Let’s look at a few recent articles that reinforce the scope of this problem, along with a few signs of hope. Time: No Real Change in the…

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Children and Anesthesia: What You Need to Know

Your child needs a surgical procedure that requires the use of some form of anesthesia. It’s natural to have some concerns—after all, anesthesia involves the use of sometimes-powerful drugs to deaden the pain of a procedure or put the patient to sleep, and a child’s small body may respond differently to these drugs than an adult would. Let’s discuss some things you need to know to ensure your child’s safety when anesthesia is needed.   Types of Anesthesia Depending on whether your child’s procedure is major or minor, the surgeon may utilize anesthesia in one of three ways: Local anesthesia—numbing…

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Are Patients Aware When Medical Malpractice Occurs?

Medical mistakes are responsible for an estimated 250,000 to 440,000 deaths in the US each year. Some medical mistakes are caused by medical malpractice. However, patients and their families are not always aware of this fact. Physicians and hospitals may not admit to mistakes that harm patients. According to a survey conducted by Medscape, 7 percent of physicians say it is acceptable to cover up medical errors. Another 14 percent say that it depends on the circumstances. More than 70 percent of physicians who participated in a survey published in British Medical Journal Quality & Safety said they would provide…

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Can Medical Mistakes Lead to a Delayed Diagnosis of Cancer?

Diagnostic errors are one of the most common types of medical mistakes in the US. Depending on the type of illness that is misdiagnosed, you could die or suffer a severe injury. We recently wrote a blog discussing what could happen after a diagnostic mistake involving bacterial meningitis. Diagnostic errors involving cancer can also be deadly. There are several reasons why health care providers could get a cancer diagnosis wrong. Possible reasons include, but are not limited to: Your doctor could miss the early symptoms of cancer. They could mistake the symptoms with a less serious condition. As a result,…

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