By: Terry Graedon November 13, 2017 7 Comments
    An Inside Look at Pharmacy Mistakes

    We have frequently urged our readers to be vigilant whenever they pick up a prescription from the pharmacy. Check to make sure that the drug you were given is exactly what your doctor prescribed: same…

    By: Terry Graedon September 27, 2017 36 Comments
    Why Are So Many Pharmacists Disillusioned?

    Most pharmacists receive a nice paycheck, so any claim that they are disillusioned is unlikely to garner much sympathy. But understanding the reasons why pharmacists are disillusioned may help you to …

    By: Terry Graedon December 22, 2016 19 Comments
    Patients Do Better Under Women Doctors’ Ca…

    Female physicians outperformed their male colleagues on key medical outcomes in a recent study. Researchers reported in JAMA Internal Medicine that hospitalized Medicare patients were less likely to d…

    By: Joe Graedon June 13, 2016 12 Comments
    Are Medical Mistakes and Deaths Being Swept Unde…

    A provocative article in the prestigious medical journal BMJ (May 3, 2016) was titled "Medical Error--The Third Leading Cause of Death in the U.S." The patient safety experts from John Hopkins went on…

    By: The People's Pharmacy May 5, 2016 8 Comments
    What Is the Third Leading Cause of Death?

    Patient safety experts from Johns Hopkins University estimate that more than 250,000 Americans die each year because of medical mistakes. That makes health care errors the third leading cause of death…

    By: Terry Graedon January 11, 2016 19 Comments
    Be Wary of Deadly Mistakes in Health Care

    Most people never imagine that doctors, nurses or pharmacists make mistakes. They trust their health professionals to make the correct diagnosis, prescribe the best treatment and administer it correct…

    By: Terry Graedon December 10, 2015 1 Comments
    Residents Fond of Low-Value Tests

    Some doctors have been trying to get their colleagues to cut back on the number of low-value tests that are ordered. The American Board of Internal Medicine has targeted such tests for its Choosing Wi…

    By: Terry Graedon November 9, 2015 16 Comments
    Should You Fire Your Doctor?

    How do you know if the doctor you are seeing is right for you? Checking to make sure that there are actually papers hanging on the wall stating that the practitioner graduated from medical school and…

    By: Joe Graedon September 24, 2015 30 Comments
    Are You Furious You Will Be Misdiagnosed? You Sh…

    Chances are shockingly good that you will be misdiagnosed by at least one doctor sometime during your life. That's the conclusion of a blue-ribbon panel of experts from the prestigious Institute of Me…

    By: Joe Graedon July 8, 2015 8 Comments
    Keeping Patients Safe in the Hospital

    A large study of patients and their families sought feedback on health care harm. The findings could help with keeping patients safe in the hospital. Safe Patient Project: The Safe Patient Project spo…

    By: Joe Graedon March 1, 2015 12 Comments
    Taking a Peek at Your Doctor’s Notes

    Doctors have long treated their clinic notes like top secret documents, but that attitude is changing. Research shows that patients appreciate being able to check their records and doctors' notes. A f…

    By: Joe Graedon February 5, 2015 5 Comments
    Why Do Surgical Patients Land Back in the Hospit…

    Hospitals have begun paying much more attention to readmissions of patients within a month after they have been discharged. That is because neither Medicare nor Medicaid will pay for the care of such …

    By: Joe Graedon December 4, 2014 0 Comments
    Survey: Medical Errors Are Common

    Just how common are medical errors? A poll conducted in Massachusetts found that one in four adults questioned reported that they had personally experienced a medical error of some kind within the pas…

    By: Joe Graedon December 4, 2014 2 Comments
    Medical Mistakes Are Killing Fewer Americans

    A new report from the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) acknowledges that medical errors are common. Government analysts reviewed between 18,000 and 33,000 medical records of Med…

    By: Joe Graedon October 20, 2014 16 Comments
    Nurse Is Distressed about Poor Hand Washing Habi…

    Q. Yesterday my next-door neighbor (a nurse in our local monster-sized hospital) vented aggressively about doctors she witnesses moving from patient to patient without washing their hands or wearing g…

    By: Joe Graedon October 15, 2014 1 Comments
    Patients Need to Wash Their Hands Too

    Doctors, nurses and other health professionals have been urged to wash their hands frequently. Hospitals even penalize health care professionals who do not follow hygiene guidelines. But is the messag…

    By: Terry Graedon April 24, 2014 5 Comments
    FDA Calls for Change in Techniques Used for Hyst…

    The safety of a technique used in laparoscopic removal of uterine fibroids has been called into question. Fibroid growths in the uterus can be quite uncomfortable, though they are benign. Gynecologist…

    By: Joe Graedon March 24, 2014 7 Comments
    What Can Health Care Learn from Malaysia Airline…

    The tragic news yesterday confirmed what we have all been anticipating, ie, that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went down in the southern Indian Ocean with 239 people on board. This heartbreaking news f…

    By: Joe Graedon February 20, 2014 74 Comments
    Can You Trust Your Blood Pressure Measurements? …

    Visit a doctor's office for almost anything that ails you and the chances are good you will have your blood pressure measured. That's because it is an essential diagnostic procedure to detect hyperten…

    By: Terry Graedon January 30, 2014 1 Comments
    Norepinephrine Shortage Threatens Safety of Seri…

    Another serious national shortage affects patients with sepsis, a systemic reaction to infection that can result in shock. This life-threatening drop in blood pressure is treated with injections of no…

    By: Joe Graedon September 30, 2013 19 Comments
    Are You Mad As Hell About Medical Mistakes? If N…

    What if the cure was indeed deadlier than the disease? An analysis published in the Journal of Patient Safety suggests that as many as 440,000 hospital patients die each year from medical mistakes tha…

    By: Joe Graedon August 22, 2013 10 Comments
    Distracted Doctor Prescribes Heart Medicine for …

    Q. It is essential that patients take a proactive role when interacting with their doctors, especially when it comes to medications. Here is my story. As soon as my doctor walked into the exam room I …

    By: Terry Graedon July 11, 2013 7 Comments
    How Vital Are Nighttime Vital Sign Measurements?

    If you have ever spent the night in a hospital bed, you know it is a terrible place to sleep. People come in throughout the night and wake you up to take your temperature, pulse and blood pressure. In…

    By: Terry Graedon July 8, 2013 10 Comments
    How to Avoid Disaster at the Drugstore

    Pharmacists remain among the most trusted professionals in America, just behind nurses and ahead of doctors, engineers, dentists and police officers. But even pharmacists make mistakes. We recently re…

    By: Terry Graedon May 2, 2013 0 Comments
    Medication Mistakes Happen at Home

    Medication mistakes are common and serious in hospital settings, but a new study shows they also happen at home. Nurses who observed parents giving their children cancer chemotherapy found that betwee…

    By: Joe Graedon April 29, 2013 29 Comments
    White Coat Conspiracy Covers Up Medical Tragedy

    My father died as a result of a missed diagnosis. He was in the coronary intensive care unit at a teaching hospital in upstate NY after suffering a heart attack at his home. He was treated in a timely…

    By: Terry Graedon April 11, 2013 2 Comments
    Too Many Beeps Create Alarm Fatigue

    Too many beeping alarms in hospital rooms may be counterproductive. These devices measure patients' vital signs and administer medications automatically. The beeps they emit are meant to alert hospita…

    By: Terry Graedon March 7, 2013 2 Comments
    Is Alert Fatigue Hiding Your Test Results?

    Electronic health records may be putting doctors into information overload. When the government offered to reward doctors and hospitals for adopting electronic records the goal was to improve efficien…

    By: Joe Graedon January 31, 2013 4 Comments
    Overloading Doctors May Put Patients at Risk

    Speedup can cause plenty of stress on a factory assembly line, but it can also cause problems in healthcare. It may even put patients' lives in danger. That's the conclusion from a scientific survey c…

    By: Joe Graedon January 28, 2013 4 Comments
    Why Hospitals Should Study Airlines

    The airline industry is in turmoil about the grounding of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The Federal Aviation Administration took pre-emptive action because of fears that the lithium batteries could overh…

    By: Joe Graedon January 24, 2013 2 Comments
    Crisis Checklist Means Life or Death in Surgical…

    When something bad happens during surgery, doctors must make life and death decisions on the spur of the moment. In the chaos following a cardiac arrest, major bleed or life-threatening allergic react…

    By: Terry Graedon January 21, 2013 13 Comments
    Did Surgeons Really Leave 16 Items Inside Patien…

    It is one of those stories that sends shivers up and down our spines. Next to operating on the wrong patient or the wrong body part, leaving surgical "stuff" inside a patient's body tops our list of "…

    By: Joe Graedon December 27, 2012 2 Comments
    Too Much Tylenol in the Hospital

    Tylenol is one of the most familiar and trusted brand names in America. In fact, commercials for the popular pain reliever used to proclaim: "Trust Tylenol. The pain reliever hospitals use most." A ne…

    By: Terry Graedon December 24, 2012 5 Comments
    Surgical Errors Are Tip of the Iceberg

    Doctors call them "never events" because they are never supposed to happen. In surgery this term applies to things like leaving an instrument or a sponge inside the patient, operating on the wrong sid…

    By: Joe Graedon October 22, 2012 11 Comments
    What Does Your Doctor Write About You?

    Doctors have been keeping secrets for thousands of years. The Hippocratic Oath, which dates back to the 5th century BC, extracts a promise from physicians that they will share their knowledge only wit…

    By: Terry Graedon October 11, 2012 9 Comments
    Contaminated Steroid Injections in Other Joints?

    In 2012, there was a scandal related to impure steroid created under improper manufacturing conditions in a compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts. People all over the country who'd had contaminated s…

    By: Joe Graedon September 27, 2012 6 Comments
    Unnecessary Antibiotics Put Seniors at Risk

    Significant variation in patterns of antibiotic use from one part of the country to another may indicate that older people are being needlessly exposed to risks. The researchers reviewed data on antib…

    By: Joe Graedon September 27, 2012 2 Comments
    Don’t Rush the Pharmacist

    Pharmacy mistakes are surprisingly common, but it should come as no surprise that speed contributes to errors. A survey of almost 700 pharmacists by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices found t…

    By: Joe Graedon September 18, 2012 3 Comments
    Sidestepping Screwups in Health Care

    Many People's Pharmacy readers are all too aware of the potential for prescription problems and the dangers of misdiagnoses. Health care providers are, after all, human beings and humans make mistakes…

    By: Joe Graedon August 20, 2012 17 Comments
    Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s Advice for Avoiding Med…

    Dr. Gupta is a giant! It's not that Sanjay Gupta, MD, is all that tall, but he is an amazing physician and communicator. Let's start with the fact that he is a distinguished neurosurgeon. He is also a…