I recently found out my grandmother died due to medical error. Without this error, she may very well still be alive today. You'd think this is more of a freak accident than a common occurrence. You'd think medically-related deaths would rank at the very bottom of any death statistic list, at least this was my thinking before did a quick google search on deaths due to medical error. I was shocked to learn that medical error is the third-leading cause of death in America.
We need to have a conversation about this.
And yes, when I say conversation, I mean an actual conversation with talking and listening. Am I upset that countless lives have been taken before their time? Yes! But waging a war with doctors won't bring anyone back.
What we need now is knowledge.
Don't mindlessly follow whatever your doctor tells you and your loved ones. Ask questions, do your own research, be an ally for a sick family member and research and ask questions for them when they can't. If you can afford it and have the time, get a second opinion if you are having doubts about a serious procedure. If a doctor is treating you badly, call him or her out on it. A good doctor will not feel threatened by your knowledge and curiosity. A good doctor will be patient with you and want to work with you and will apologize if he did something wrong.
What we need now is understanding
Most doctors are these good doctors, or at the very least try to be. It's so easy to point fingers and throw blame when we are upset and passionate and that's OK. It's OK to be upset. But we also need to listen. We need to make sure our doctors are being heard. We need to protect and respect the good ones and hold the bad ones accountable for their actions. We need to create an environment where we are all working together towards a common goal: patient health, safety, and wellbeing.
Change starts with us
I don't claim to have all the answers on how to combat this problem. The only thing I know for sure is that we need to start talking about this. So please, share this article, do some research, make some social media posts, share your story, advocate for your family and loved ones and whatever else it takes to start making noise about this. Change starts with us.