The Seton Hall University School of Health and Medical Sciences (SHMS) is hosting a special event, "How to Save a Life: Speaking Up to Prevent Medical Errors," on Sept. 17 in the Walsh Gymnasium from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. This free event is open to the public but advanced registration is requested at www.shu.edu/speakingup. The event will feature inspirational speaker Sorrel King, the mother of Josie King and founder of the Josie King Foundation, who died when she was just 18 months old due to preventable medical errors.
According to the Josie King Foundation, medical errors are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. We often trust doctors, nurses, and other healthcare practitioners blindly. In fact, Chair of the School of Health and Medical Sciences Task Force on Interprofessional Education at Seton Hall Dr. Genevieve Zipp said, “anyone involved in the care of a patient can, potentially, be the reason for a medical error’s occurrence.” Dr. Zipp, explains that “EMTs, emergency room managers, doctors, nurses, surgeons, lab technicians, rehabilitation therapists, outpatient coordinators,” and anyone who has anything to do with a patient’s treatment can significantly affect the patient’s health and well-being.
There are a wide range of medical errors that can occur and they can happen for many different reasons. Problems can arise as a result of careless mistakes, accidents, or a lack of successful communication. According to Dr. Zipp, some medical errors can include “medication dosage and timing issues; failure to use indicated invasive and non-invasive diagnostic testing; technical medical error; avoidable delay in treatment; failure to take precautions; failure to take action on test results; or failure to adequately prep for procedures, monitor after procedures and prepare for follow-up.
Due to the serious risk that medical errors place on the patient’s health and life, everyone involved with the treatment process has a role to play to prevent any mistakes. It is up to medical professionals to make sure that they communicate effectively with each other and with the patient. At the same time, Dr. Zipp advises patients and their families and caregivers to be “vigilant in asking questions about their condition, treatment options, medications and therapies, as well as speaking up right away if there is a question or concern about anything taking place.”
Noora Badwan can be reached at email@example.com.