A recent study from Johns Hopkins University ranks medical error as the third-leading cause of death in the United States. Researchers say that only cancer and heart disease cause more deaths each year.
Arkansas patients who are planning on undergoing surgery may be interested in an Oxford University research study that has unified competing theories about best practices in patient care. Previous efforts to increase patient safety have involved either teamwork and communication improvements or industrial techniques to modify high-risk aspects of care. A division of the National Institute for Health Research funded the program over four years in the Department of Surgical Sciences at Oxford.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more that 700,000 emergency room visits each year are attributed to adverse drug events. Because medication errors can result in severe consequences for patients, there are several steps that a health care practitioner in Arkansas must take before administering medication. First, anyone giving out medication must confirm the identity of the patient receiving it. This may be done by confirming the patient's name or date of birth.
Arkansas men may be choosing to decline the prostate-specific antigen tests based on a recommendation in 2012 from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. According to the task force, the test was detecting too many slow-growing cancers that posed little risk to patients who then underwent unnecessary procedures such as radiation treatment and surgery.
Arkansas residents may have heard of people suffering from surgical errors such as wrong site surgery or of surgical sponges left behind in the body. A book based on research compiled at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland is aiming to reduce the frequency of these types of events by identifying a number of non-technical failures that lead to them. Such events may happen to as many as 12 percent of hospital patients.
An individual facing a stay in an Arkansas hospital may want to investigate the facility's ratings in terms of certain high-risk infections. Although hospitals are typically viewed as locations for healing, some conditions can increase the risk of coming into contact with dangerous superbugs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, twice as many individuals die each year from such infections than from motor vehicle accidents. In fact, nearly 650,000 individuals contract such infections after staying in a hospital.
A study published in The Economist claims that American women who are expecting, including those in Arkansas, may be at a greater risk of dying now than at any other time in the last 10 years. National trends across the developed world show maternal death rates from childbirth dropping significantly, but America's is rising. While the odds are still much lower than the early 1930s, when one mother died for every 100 deliveries, this trend is disquieting for many.
Medical mistakes could cause harm to patients, and even good doctors are not free from error. While some of these mistakes are not surprising, Arkansas residents might be concerned about some of the ones that doctors make.
Though much improvement has been made in the medical world to reduce mistakes, there is still a percentage of unusual, but preventable, errors that occur. Researchers believe they have discovered a link between surgical errors and poor communication among hospital staff.
People in Arkansas who undergo routine cancer screenings should be aware of the concept of overdiagnosis. This is defined as the identification of cancer well before it would cause symptoms or affect a person's life. Cancer overdiagnosis could lead to further testing and potentially harmful treatments that make a person deal with the stress and discomfort of cancer years before it would otherwise have been an issue.