Dr. Barbara Huggins

Speak Up Campaign

March 8, 2007

Speak Up Campaign -  March 8, 2007Being a patient in a hospital can be risky business. Every year at least 98,000 Americans die as a result of medical errors - that's twice the number killed in car accidents. But there is something you can do to ensure that you don't become one of these statistics. Dr. Mom has more.

As many as 98,000 Americans die each year because of medical errors despite an unprecedented focus on patient safety. Two large studies suggest that medical errors are the eighth leading cause of death among Americans, with error-caused deaths each year in hospitals alone exceeding those from mother vehicle accident, breast cancer or AIDS.

To help prevent health care errors, patients are urged to Speak UP. The Speak Up program is sponsored by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. Simple advice is provided on how you, as the patient, can make your care a positive experience. Research shows that patients who take part in decisions about their health care are more likely to have better outcomes.

Speak up if you have questions or concerns, and if you don't understand, ask again. It is your body and you have a right to know.
Pay attention to the care you are receiving. Make sure you are getting the right treatments and medications by the right health care professionals. Don't assume anything.
Educate yourself about your diagnosis, the medical tests you are undergoing, and your treatment plan.
Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate.
Know what medications you take and why you take them. Medication errors are the most common health care mistakes.
Use an ambulatory care center, ambulatory surgery center, office-based surgery practice, primary care center, or other type of health care organization that has undergone a rigorous on-site evaluation against established, state-of-the-art quality and safety standards, such as that provided by the Joint Commission.
Participate in all decisions about your treatment. You are the center of the health care team.
Helpful websites:

NOTICE: Protected health information is subject to electronic disclosure.