Brought to you by Artificial Limb & Brace
Saturday, April 7, 2012
As a professional who regularly talks to groups about hypnotherapeutic medicine, over the years I’ve encountered more than one medical professional who has deemed that I have crossed the line and ventured unjustly into an area where they most certainly have superior knowledge. While my expertise is in the area of clinical applications of hypnosis, I feel that everyone who serves in healing professions must be aware of their continued need for further exploration and that they must accept the fact that they are very far from being perfect. One word that quickly calms the most ardent medical heckler is the word “iatrogenic” – which literally means “physician-induced.”
Despite the fact that I can confidently say that I have never met a medical doctor, nurse, or related professional or technician who did not have in their heart their patient’s best interests, they are just as susceptible to human error as any tradesman, academic, or any other serious practitioner. What does concern me, however, is that medical personnel do not openly discuss with their patients the significant probability that an error may occur while receiving their best care. This not only costs lives, but also results in illnesses and avoidable medical expenses. Medical consumers should be aware of this problem and not be afraid to seek information regarding hospital and doctor error rates and how their safety programs stack up against other institutions. When physicians and hospitals discuss low health literacy, topics such as safety records, risk, and the role that patients can play in reducing errors should be discussed. This should be tactfully brought up only at the right time (and therefore not just before a dangerous surgery) so as to help assuage the concerns of the patient in a way that they become increasingly confident that they have made the right choices – and not merely to cover a hospital’s legal liability.
Medical errors, which include mistakes during surgery, improper medication, and what is known as a “failure to respond” are one of the leading causes of death in America. According to To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System (2000), up to 98,000 Americans are killed annual by medical errors. This number slightly exceeds the combined total of those killed in one year by motor vehicle accidents (43,458), breast cancer (42,297), and AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, 16,516). Even though heart disease and cancer top the list of the Centers for Disease Control official causes of death, still as a patient you are more than twice as likely to die at the hand of a healing professional rather than a gunshot wound or an automobile accident. (Please note that according to many reports iatrogenic deaths are most likely to be coded under the originally admitting condition. Thus a cancer patient who dies of an overdose of painkiller will probably be regarded as dying of cancer and not the drug. Therefore, it is very debatable whether the numbers in the report are either too high or substantially understated. )
Even though this topic is one of which I strongly believe that the general public must be more aware, from what I can see it is one that the American Medical Association, regulatory agencies, hospitals, and medical professionals frequently discuss. Sure there are cases when surgeons make huge mistakes, such as cutting off the wrong limb or performing an operation on the wrong person. However, many iatrogenic cases have to do with errors in judgment – which were still rationally made. For instance, staph infections can and do regularly occur while admitted in a hospital. (My late father was re-hospitalized more than once because he had acquired staph infections during previous stays.) Even though many states have mandated that hospitals do a much better job screening high-risk patients for preexisting staph infections, the fact still remains that many strains of this bacteria are resistant to treatment thus leading to an opportunity for doctors to prescribe dangerous doses of medications. So, even though medical facilities are neurotic about sanitation and are serious about monitoring errors that may have adverse affects, I still feel that patients should know what they are getting into. To be unaware of a medical facility’s track record when it comes to iatrogenic illnesses and deaths could possibly increase a patient’s risk.
Another reason why iatrogenic illnesses and deaths are so prevalent is the emphasis on medications and surgical procedures, both of which present a high-consequence opportunity for error. This is despite that there exists many other forms of medicine, which The Joint Commission (of hospital accreditation seems to be alluding to when they call about “coordinated, multi-disciplinary care”). For instance, when dealing with patients who have been recently diagnosed with fibromyalgia syndrome and a host of other psychosomatic disorders doctors would rather prescribe a cocktail of side-effect ridden medications, to which patients become increasingly resistant and which only provide very limited results when it comes to symptom alleviation. Encouraging a patient to take increasing amounts of addictive and possibly deadly consequences when there are other safer alternatives, should be questioned by the informed medical consumer. For instance, hypnotherapy, which seems to be documented in the medical literature almost monthly as an effective no-side affect alternative, should be included in the healing program from the beginning rather than a last-ditch alternative for non-responsive patients (which for fibro sufferers is normally the majority).
Even though I am a big supporter of the wonders of modern medicine and the primacy of the practitioners in the health care arena, I am far from blind to their limitations. I say this as part of a family which has endured heart-rending chronic illnesses and as a trained and educated integrative professional who has actively monitored numerous science-based approaches to healing. My belief is that no one methodology is perfect all of the time and that any group is subject to error rates that may have catastrophic results. An honest an open effort to inform medical consumers, a coordinated, multi-disciplinary approach to healing, and a strong safety program should go a long way to reducing errors and improving confidence and reducing unnecessary costs.
Keywords: iatrogenic illnesses, hospitals, hypnotherapeutic medicine
Visit It's Your Life with Tim Brunson
There currently are no approved comments for this blog article. To join the discussion click here.
Wednesday, January 8, 2014 - Jim Epik -- It's Your Life, Friday, 8 AM CST
Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - Dangerous Dogs
Thursday, November 7, 2013 - Never give up – Lessons from a mouse
Thursday, November 7, 2013 - Tom North – It’s Your Life Guest – 8 a.m. CST, November 8
Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - Dilshad Dayani – Guest Friday on It’s Your Life
Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - Dr. Hillary Chollet - Guest - It's Your Life, Friday, Oct 18
Wednesday, October 9, 2013 - Leah Carey --It's Your Life guest Oct 11, 2015
Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - Living with dogs
Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - David Reddick -- It's Your Life, October 4
Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - Froswa Booker-Drew – It’s Your Life Guest, Sep 27, 8 AM
Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - Jim Stevens, It’s Your Life guest, Friday, September 20.
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - Donna Mae DePola is my guest this week on It’s Your Life
Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - Christine Clifford guest this Friday (Sep 6) on It's Your Life
Monday, August 26, 2013 - Alexandra Chauran, It's Your Life guest, Friday, Aug 30
Monday, August 26, 2013 - Homelessness in NE Alabama
Monday, August 19, 2013 - Chris Vaca – It’s Your Life guest Friday, August 23
Monday, August 12, 2013 - Katy Larsen -- Guest 8 a.m. Friday, It's Your Life
Monday, August 5, 2013 - Pat San Pedro – Guest on It’s Your Life, Friday August 9
Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - Successful Failures
Monday, July 29, 2013 - Rita Flegel, Guest on It’s Your Life, Friday, August 2
Monday, July 22, 2013 - Anna McCarthy, It’s Your Life guest, July 26
Sunday, July 21, 2013 - College football banned in Alabama?
Saturday, July 20, 2013 - What we know about the Zimmerman – Martin case
Monday, July 15, 2013 - Suzanne Casamento -- It's Your Life - July 19
Friday, July 12, 2013 - The US education scam
Tuesday, July 9, 2013 - Attracting the love of your life
Friday, May 17, 2013 - For those who struggle
Friday, May 10, 2013 - Technology redefining our humanity
Thursday, May 9, 2013 - Terrorism makes us do dumb things
Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - This is a bunch of bull
Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - Schools, education, and creativity
Tuesday, May 7, 2013 - The arts and high school drop out rates
Saturday, May 4, 2013 - Are we predictable?
Saturday, March 23, 2013 - Increasing your protection against hackers
Friday, March 22, 2013 - The computer hacker next door
Thursday, March 21, 2013 - U R hacking my computers!
Thursday, March 14, 2013 - Living in an illiterate nation
Thursday, March 14, 2013 - New Pope good for Christianity and the world
Friday, November 16, 2012 - Help with stress
Saturday, November 3, 2012 - My Batteries Unlimited Experience
Thursday, July 26, 2012 - Everyone needs self-promotion
Friday, July 13, 2012 - Law enforcement and community transformation
Thursday, July 5, 2012 - Surviving your mid-life crisis
Friday, June 29, 2012 - Mind over matter in medicine
Thursday, June 21, 2012 - Career changes later in life
Thursday, June 14, 2012 - From tragedy to empowerment
Thursday, June 7, 2012 - Change your focus, change your brain
Thursday, May 31, 2012 - Lessons about life from those who are dying
Thursday, May 24, 2012 - Surviving a mindless marriage
Thursday, May 17, 2012 - The impact of the mind on breast cancer survival
Thursday, May 10, 2012 - Providing Chiropractic care to the Hispanic population
Thursday, May 3, 2012 - Dating and lasting romantic relationships
Thursday, April 26, 2012 - Using relaxation to increase concentration
Monday, April 16, 2012 - “It’s Your Life” on WDNG
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - US Real estate wrap up for March 2012
Saturday, April 7, 2012 - Medical care: When the risk is greater than car accidents and gunshots
Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - Affecting insomnia without the use of pills
Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - Common sense economics
Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - A psychotherapist as an enabler
Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - Irritable Bowel Syndrome and mental health
Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - Playing good-cop or bad-cop as part of effective parenting
Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - Do Professional Certifications REALLY Matter?
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - Can Financial Incentives Motivate Older Adults to Achieve Fitness Goals?
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - Teaching manners to kids and the development of empathy
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - You vs your co-worker: How to win disputes at work
Monday, March 26, 2012 - The challenge of smoking cessation
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 - Existing home sales drop in February
Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - Hypnotherapy and fibromyalgia
Monday, March 12, 2012 - US Real estate wrap up for February 2012
Friday, March 9, 2012 - February unemployment did not drop
Sunday, February 26, 2012 - Hypnosis for Weight Loss
Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - The Politics of Stupidity
Friday, February 10, 2012 - A simple formula for change and transformation
Wednesday, February 8, 2012 - Greed is not Always Good
Sunday, February 5, 2012 - Stopping smoking habits can be difficult
Saturday, February 4, 2012 - Calhoun County’s Vulnerability to Federal Handouts