3 Medical Errors That Changed the Medicine of Today

Post 7 of 9

When Abraham Flexner evaluated medical institutions from the point of view of an educator and not a medical practitioner in 1910, he discovered that the majority had low admission standards, minimal exposure to clinical material and poor laboratory facilities. Because of this, medical negligence was not uncommon is hospitals across the country. Studying these mistakes can teach us how to prevent and eliminate medical errors, thus protecting the patients from life threatening situations and the medial health care professionals from malpractice suits. These are the some of the medical errors that have led to changes in the way doctors practice medicine today:

3 Medical Errors That Changed the Medicine of Today 3 Medical Errors That Changed the Medicine of Today Picture

1. Trauma care

After crushing his small plane in 1976, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jim Styner and his family were rushed to a local hospital in Nebraska. His wife did not survive, and 3 of their 4 children were in a critical condition. The doctors at the hospital had little trauma training and did not protect the injured children’s cervical spines. Because of the medical error and inadequate the health care received, Styner decided to collaborate with a few of his colleagues and developed the initial ATLS course in 1978. Today, the ATLS is standard for trauma care in the emergency departments and US paramedical services.

2. Fetal heart monitoring

Sally and Ed were a happy couple who looked forward to the birth of their first baby. Because Sally’s labor was long, her obstetrician administered oxytocin that led to unrecognized fetal distress. The newborn suffered severe brain injury that led to cerebral palsy. Today, fetal monitoring fir heart rate and contractions are the standard of care, thus preventing medical errors that would harm unborn babies. Electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) was developed in the late 60’s and its usage has substantially grown from 45% in 1980 to 85% in 2002.

3. Sponge counts

When he was 12 years old, Tom was taken to the local pediatric hospital because his appendix burst. After the appendectomy, Tom developed a high fever and doctors discovered a surgical sponge that had been left inside. One week later, a second procedure was performed to remove it. Today, such medical errors are prevented by postoperative sponge and instrument counts. Different ways of counting the instruments are also used in the operating room during surgeries. However, this type of medical negligence still occurs in 12.5% of surgeries, according to a 2008 study published in Annals of Surgery. Because of this, manufacturers have developed sponges with bar coding and threads visible on x-rays.