Epilepsy Talk

Why You Should AVOID Going To The Hospital… (If You Can!) | March 8, 2019

Medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the United States, after heart disease and cancer.

A recent Johns Hopkins study claims more than 250,000 people in the U.S. die every year from medical errors.

Other reports claim the numbers to be as high as 440,000.

The Institute of Medicine, an independent group that advises the government on health matters, led to a national movement to reduce errors and make hospital stays less hazardous to patients’ health.

Among the preventable problems were severe bleeding during an operation, serious breathing trouble caused by a procedure that was performed incorrectly, a fall that dislocated a patient’s hip and damaged a nerve, and vaginal cuts caused by a vacuum device used to help deliver a baby.

Since then, instead of improvements, the researchers found a higher rate of problems.

About 18 percent of patients were harmed by medical care, some more than once, and 63.1 percent of the injuries were judged to be preventable.

Most of the problems were temporary and treatable, but some were serious, and a few — 2.4 percent — caused or contributed to a patient’s death, the study found.

The findings were a disappointment but not a surprise.

Many of the problems were caused by the hospitals’ failure to use measures that had been proved to avert mistakes and to prevent infections from devices like urinary catheters, ventilators and lines inserted into veins and arteries.

An expert on hospital safety who was not associated with the study said the findings were a warning for the patient-safety movement.

“We need to do more, and to do it more quickly,” said the expert, Dr. Robert M. Wachter, the chief of hospital medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

A recent government report found similar results, saying that in October 2008, 13.5 percent of Medicare beneficiaries — 134,000 patients — experienced “adverse events” during hospital stays.

The report said the extra treatment required as a result of the injuries could cost Medicare several billion dollars a year. And in 1.5 percent of the patients — 15,000 in the month studied — medical mistakes contributed to their deaths.

That report, issued this month by the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services, was based on a sample of Medicare records from patients discharged from hospitals.

The study reviewed the records of 2,341 patients admitted to 10 hospitals — in both urban and rural areas and involving large and small medical centers.

(The hospitals were not named.)

The researchers used a “trigger tool,” a list of 54 red flags that indicated something could have gone wrong.

They included drugs used only to reverse an overdose, the presence of bedsores or the patient’s readmission to the hospital within 30 days.

The researchers found 588 instances in which a patient was harmed by medical care, or 25.1 injuries per 100 admissions.

Although those numbers are sobering, the researchers were more disappointed to see that the rate of errors did not decline over the six years they studied.

Not all the problems were serious. Most were temporary and treatable, like a bout with severe low blood sugar from receiving too much insulin or a urinary infection caused by a catheter.

But 42.7 percent of them required extra time in the hospital for treatment of problems like an infected surgical incision.

In 2.9 percent of the cases, patients suffered a permanent injury — brain damage from a stroke that could have been prevented after an operation, for example.

A little more than 8 percent of the problems were life-threatening, like severe bleeding during surgery. And 2.4 percent of them caused or contributed to a patient’s death — such as bleeding and organ failure after surgery.

A nationally coordinated system is needed to help hospitals put proven safety measures to work, Dr. Christopher Landrigan, a patient safety researcher at both Children’s Hospital Boston and Brigham and Women’s Hospital said — citing surgical checklists, computerized prescription order entry, and limits on how long doctors and nurses can work without sleep.

Electronic medical records help, but not all the safety measures have to be high-tech, he said. One of the most effective ways to prevent hospital-acquired infections is for doctors and nurses to wash their hands.

Dr. Mark R. Chassin, president of the Joint Commission, which accredits hospitals, said, “that preventable complications are way too frequent in American health care,” and “it’s not a problem we’re going to get rid of in six months or a year.”

For the most part, the reporting of medical errors or harm to patients is voluntary, and that vastly underestimates the frequency of errors and injuries that occur.

Leah Binder, the chief executive officer of the Leapfrog Group, a patient safety organization whose members include large employers trying to improve health care, said it was essential that hospitals be more open about reporting problems.

Examples of hospital errors

All of the phases from diagnosis to treatment can have some type of error.

Here is a compilation of different medical mistakes from such organizations as The Institute of Medicine and The National Patient Safety Foundation:

Diagnosis mistakes (Note: there are various mistakes that can cause a misdiagnosis of a condition. Misdiagnosis can be one of the most costly of medical errors, leading to delayed, omitted, or inappropriate medical treatments.

Unfortunately, the wording in the study for misdiagnosis is often “misdiagnosis” or “wrong treatment”, so it’s unclear exactly how many were true misdiagnoses — or a wrong condition treated with the wrong treatment.)

Prescribing errors (68%)
Technical errors (44%)
Misdiagnosis (40%)
Hospital (48%) – account for all errors — including medical procedure error (22%), operating room (7%), emergency room (5%), untrained staff/incompetence (14%),
Medication error (28%)
Carelessness/negligence (29%)
Administration errors (25%)

And HUNDREDS more…

Here’s the really discouraging news: about 70% of all errors were believed to be preventable.

The remainder were presumably non-preventable errors such as a patient reacting to a drug who had no previous history of an allergy to the drug.


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  1. This sounds more like an ad you see on tv for a lawyers firm than dealing with epilepsy. Didn’t even read it.


    Comment by Graham Raiff — March 8, 2019 @ 9:53 AM

    • Please see links below for authentication.


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — March 8, 2019 @ 10:28 AM

    • Graham, You’re luck you’ve NOT been on the receiving end of the tormenting maltreatment, wanton torture & traumatic agony, disguised for medical cure.
      I hope & pray that may God protect you from harm & you never end up being helpless victim to live through the agony of the death chamber, prescribed by licensed death merchants dressed in hospital uniforms.
      I only hope that you open up your mind, see & feel the agony of too many helpless souls around you, who’re paying painful price for seeking medical attention, cure & redemption for their health crisis.
      Best wishes!

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by BahreNegash Eritrea — March 8, 2019 @ 10:11 PM

  2. I don’t see how this relates to epilepsy. If you have a seizure in a public forum, often you are just taken to the emergency room. The statistics cited are remarkable and scary, but if one avoids a hospital when in need, where does one go?


    Comment by Jay — March 8, 2019 @ 10:31 AM

    • I’m referring predominately to emergency admissions and then further actions.


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — March 8, 2019 @ 10:37 AM

      • Please unsubscribe me to your posts.


        Comment by Jay — March 9, 2019 @ 4:44 PM

    • Having seizure, heart attack or stroke,,, ain’t going to the hospital ment to seek medical help/cure & not end up in the statistics of “medical mistakes”?

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by BahreNegash Eritrea — March 8, 2019 @ 11:32 PM

  3. Today’s laws are basically forcing people to be taken to the hospital. Like one time I tripped and fell; I was perfectly aware of happenings, and rather than help me up, they insisted they call an ambulance- (and the insurance did NOT cover the expense)- making me have to pay over a thousand dollars. Guess I need to realize most people do not have the intelligence to help a person; they just figure calling an ambulance is easier……………………………….. Maybe they will learn if something happens to them a few times- and they pay the charges

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Karen — March 8, 2019 @ 3:21 PM

  4. I paid $1,200 for an ambulance ride to the hospital literally 3 BLOCKS away.

    But, I didn’t have any say in the matter. I was out cold.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — March 8, 2019 @ 3:25 PM

    • How do I stop getting your posts? You are not helpful. I suppose I could block you, but what is the best way? I promise I am not going to stop going to get medical treatment, whether at a hospital or my doctor, your post was harmful to the wellbeing of the public.


      Comment by Jay — March 9, 2019 @ 4:40 PM

      • I would love to help you unsubscribe or block me, but I have no access to your subscription settings or your privacy.


        Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — March 9, 2019 @ 5:06 PM

      • Thank you. I saw an “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of this email. Hopefully that will stop it.


        Comment by Jay — March 10, 2019 @ 10:34 AM

  5. Way back in 2000, while at the NIH, after I was put on LAMICTAL & more than I thought I needed, & I get a rash. So I am told by 1 of my doctors, that I was not sleeping with clean bed sheets at home. REALLY ? I said, and said to her, I was not taking LAMICTAL at home, & this was the 1st time ever in my life where a rash like this ever happened to me & I am taking LAMICTAL here. So later I was reduced on lamictal under 200mgs a day, from 300+ mgs I was on, and AFTER I went OFF the drug 100% I had NO RASH, & SLEPT BETTER 7 + hours since for over 90% of nights I sleep, plus I mentally felt & feel better yet today than I ever did in 2000 & 2001. YES it was the SJS rash / Stevens Johns Syndrome, but until I talked the HARD BALL TALK to that doctor, she would had done nothing, because I was THEIR EXPERIMENT, to where I said then OKAY YOU LEARNED NOW WHAT THIS LAMICTAL DOES WITH HIGHER DOSES, like she did not know anyway. So it is NOT dirty bed sheets, but drugs that will cause rashes & whatever else, that to think & presumed there are a few unsanitary bed sheets might be at fault for SJS. Guess we all need to be sleeping on LYSOL sprayed sheets, just to be prepared for that BS I heard then and is still being told by other neurologists today. So never give in to the side affects from drugs or whatever, when they CAN CHANGE what they can be doing for any of you. SPEAK OUT against it ASAP before it would maybe be too late.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by C D — March 8, 2019 @ 4:58 PM

  6. Lysol? Really? Does SHE sleep with Lysol?

    Stevens-Johnson Syndrome — a danger for those on Dilantin or Lamictal



    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — March 8, 2019 @ 5:09 PM

  7. Not surprised to see Prescribing errors at the top of the list. That scares the bejezus out of me. So far I haven’t ended up in ER totally unconscious so have been able to argue with them about drugs. I have all my meds/doses/allergies/use with caution written down and always carry with me, and even carry a few days spare drugs with me always. plus I’ve made certain drugs officially allergies even though I’ve never taken them to hopefully make sure I’m not given them, eg Tramadol which does not mix with epilepsy. Some idiot tried to give me that once, even after I asked him to please check it was safe (he refused to, i refused to take it, he got angry).

    But even with all that, for many years, even with all the information in front of them they were incapable of copying it correctly into the medication charts, and when I was admitted was constantly being given the wrong dosages or missing pills altogether! Now, I could fight them, but I could see full well how so many people could suffer serious effects from these errors.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Katie — March 8, 2019 @ 7:52 PM

  8. It’s sad that you can barely stand up for yourself when you’re conscious, no less when you’re not.

    I have a deadly fear of being given codeine and sometimes feel like I should have a tattoo on my forehead!


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — March 8, 2019 @ 10:01 PM

  9. Ironic to find out that US restaurants annual license renewal procedures REQUIRE strick state guidelines & more state inspections than the medical establishments that are supposed & licensed to save lives.
    Sad to note that the medical malpractices that are taking down helpless lives are justified for “medical mistakes”, letting the same hospitals, doctors & nurses still remain in business, LICENSED to keep committing the same crimes against the helpless lives, while the STATE MEDICAL BOARDS look the other way.
    Thanks to Epilepsy, it has been 20 years of enlightening experience to have learned what makes seizures & what are the medical establishments made from.

    In the end, it’s sad to note that the seizures has been predictably safer than the medical establishments that are LICENSED to cure the health difficulties, making one wonder why risk going to hospitals & put up with the burden of expensive medical bills for potential “medical mistakes?


    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by BahreNegash Eritrea — March 8, 2019 @ 11:14 PM

    • The FDA versus medical malpractice.

      Yes, I do agree, but I would note, that the FDA has approved many things that are pretty toxic too.

      Some of it has to do with off-shore clinical testing, which is a joke.

      But medical malpractice is a far more dangerous and urgent matter, I agree.

      One can make you sick, the other can kill you.


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — March 9, 2019 @ 8:59 AM

  10. My mom died when I was five. That was 37 years ago and I don’t remember much since I was a kid but she was allergic to penicillin and they were giving it to her in hospital. She ended up dying in there…but it ain’t right regardless. Hospitals need to be sure they’re taking precautionary measures and not endangering a patient that trusts they’re doing everything they need to to keep them safe from any harm. I already feel like I’ve been in that position more than once, myself. I’m always a bit scared to go to any appointments at the dentist. Now I’ve got a rash all over my face and I told Dentist I’m probably allergic to the bonding on the tooth. I’ve got a sore on my lip that’s never healed and it’s on the area where it’s at! They said they don’t believe it’s causing it. Smh. I’ll call and have them replace it now if I can get them to see me. Negligence is typical in the medical/dental field. It sucks but it’s true. 🙁 Kinda scared to go for my Intracranial Electrode Placement and Monitoring Surgery in a week now…😶

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Mirabel — March 9, 2019 @ 11:43 AM

    • Mirabel, are you comfortable with the doctor? Can you speak with him/her before hand to express your feelings and hesitancy?

      Meanwhile, the unhealed sore on your lip could be something viral. I would go to my PCP and have it checked out.

      And the rash, what kinds of meds are you on?

      Because Dilantin and Lamictal have a slight chance of giving you the dangerous skin disease called “Stevens-Johnson Syndrome”.

      And that is nothing to ignore!


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — March 9, 2019 @ 5:17 PM

    • The corrupt government institutions licensing the hospital industry, failing to enforce strict rules, regulations & oversight are as much responsible as the irresponsible hospitals & doctors that are negligent enough to endanger helpless patients seeking desperate medical attention.
      The government should investigate all medical establishments doing harm to any patient & revoke their licenses when the Doctors & Hospitals endanger human lives.
      Anything less is endagering more human lives.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by BahreNegash Eritrea — March 9, 2019 @ 6:34 PM

      • Unfortunately, these mistakes are only disclosed on a VOLUNTARY basis unless there is a lawsuit involved.

        Pretty pathetic.

        And, according to Medicare, the numbers disclosed are only a sheer fraction of all the medical misdemeanors being committed. 😦


        Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — March 9, 2019 @ 7:00 PM

  11. It’s hard to believe that the federal government’s Health & Human Services Department & States Medical Boards are powerless in establishing & enforcing public health rules, regulations & oversight, protecting the very people they are elected & appointed to serve & protect.
    It’s shocking to know the government is NOT interested nor concerned with public safety.

    But without strict regulations, requirements & oversight, no one knows for sure how many lives are condemned to death, by the very hands licensed to provide medical assistance by the State Medical Boards & HHS.

    There’s a need for urgent radical changes, requiring accountability from government institutions & medical establishments.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by BahreNegash Eritrea — March 9, 2019 @ 10:07 PM

    • How about the docs who have their licences revoked, only to hang their shingle in another state?

      Who’s watching them? (Other than the media.)


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — March 9, 2019 @ 11:17 PM

      • God have mercy for the helpless.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by BahreNegash Eritrea — March 10, 2019 @ 4:40 AM

  12. Sadly if you are ANEMIC you can not get a blood transfusion unless you are at a hospital, or maybe a hematologist office. Just yesterday my 90 year old mother needed 1 transfusion of blood, & I was there to tell them that she has A+ blood, as I do as well. Of course I can not ever give my blood for her to have it put in her body, & I am her son. There are 2 maybe 3 hospitals which can do blood transfusions & I am always calling 1 or the other hospitals & ask if they have A+ blood in their blood vault, before getting her to that hospital. 1st time this ever happened AFTER TAKING A BLOOD THINNER DRUG called PLAVIX,, her hemoglobin dropped below 6, and I was not going to wait 60 minutes or longer for any 911 EMT unit to take her 60 minutes away to the hospital, and she got 5 units of blood that 1st time. That was 2016. IF they ever mess up with her blood type when she is needed of at least 1 transfusion, there will be HELL to pay.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by James D — June 7, 2022 @ 7:44 PM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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