Most people have a sense that the worst things cannot happen to them. From car accidents to surgical mistakes—we always think these things happen to other people. But, it’s not just the old or vulnerable who fall victim to medical mistakes. Whether you are in a coma or wide awake, highly educated or a medical layman—a potentially serious medical error can happen to you, too.
One doctor, Itzhak Brook, professor of pediatrics at Georgetown University School of Medicine, is speaking out about his own experience as a victim of medical errors. And if not one or two, but many mistakes can happen to someone like him, they can happen to anyone.
According to a blog post at KevinMD.com, Dr. Brook underwent pharyngo-laryngectomy with flap reconstruction for a recurrence of throat cancer. It was before, during, and after this surgery that he witnessed just how common errors are in hospitals.
Dr. Brook was hospitalized at three different institutions during this period of his life. Mistakes happened at each one and ranged from the relatively minor to the potentially deadly.
Mistakes Made By Three Different Hospitals
- Failure to detect cancer recurrence, which led to tumor growth and further complications.
- Mistaken removal of scar tissue instead of the cancerous lesion in his throat.
- The inability for Dr. Brook to get assistance due to a dropped call button, no voice after surgery, and nursing staff who seemingly ignored his calls.
- The frustration and discomfort of having mucus-clogged airways, making it difficult to breathe, and getting no response from nursing staff for assistance.
- Premature feeding of soft solids for 16 hours despite Dr. Brook’s concerns that it was still too early. (The order to reintroduce foods was intended for another patient).
- Lack of infection control (failure to wash hands, using an oral thermometer without a plastic sheath).
- Medication administration errors
- And more…
Dr. Brook is a professor in a medical school; he teaches medicine. So, he knows a thing or two about proper hospital protocol. In other words, it may have been easier for him to pick up on these mistakes that the average patient might miss.
He credits his own knowledge and persistence with saving him from greater medical problems resulting from these mistakes. But, he also credits having advocates by his side in the form of family and friends.
Patients should become “experts in their medical conditions,” suggests Dr. Brook. He also says they should keep family and friends close to watch over the medical staff treating them. Getting second opinions, asking questions, and challenging recommendations are also important preventative steps in the effort to avoid medical malpractice.
Medical mistakes can happen to anyone. When they happen to you, you need someone on your side advocating for justice.
Indianapolis Medical Malpractice Attorneys
The medical malpractice attorneys of Baker & Gilchrist are dedicated to helping victims of hospital errors and medical mistakes. Contact us today to discuss the facts of your case and how we might be able to help you, too. Call 877-928-2534 today.