Your Ability to Stop Medical Errors Before They Can Affect You

If you want to avoid being a victim of a medical error, you have to participate.

“Some people appear to have these characteristics such that, in the presence of an error, there is a persistent sense that something is not right and it must be pursued until a satisfactory level of assurance is reached. These characteristics may also be taught by cultivating a culture of safety: one that inculcates attentiveness, safe questioning, and resolutions among clinicians, staff and patients.”1

You can really make a difference in the safety of your care if you pay attention and speak up when something doesn’t seem right. And be especially persistent if you have a really strong feeling that something is going wrong.

“People need to state the problem politely and persistently until they get an answer; the common practice of speaking indirectly (the ‘hint and hope’ model) is fraught with risk. Focusing on the problem and avoiding the issue of who’s ‘right’ and who’s ‘wrong’ is quite important and a major success factor.”2

Studies, Footnotes and Resources:

  1. Parnes, Bennett, Douglas Fernald, and Javan Quintela et al. “Stopping the Error Cascade: A Report on Ameliorators from the ASIPS Collaborative.” Quality and Safety in Health Care 16 (2007): 12-16
  2. Leonard, M., S. Graham, and D. Bonacum. “The Human Factor: The Critical Importance of Effective Teamwork and Communication in Providing Safe Care.” Quality and Safety in Health Care 13 (Suppl. 1) (2004): i85-i90