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Patient Safety Awareness Week

March 2-8 is Patient Safety Awareness Week. Patient Safety Awareness Week is an annual education and awareness campaign for health care safety led by the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF). This year’s theme is Navigate Your Health…Safely.

When someone is unnecessarily harmed by an entrusted healthcare provider, the effects can be devastating and life-altering. Victims of medical malpractice and their families’ often suffer long-term emotional, physical and financial consequences. Sadly, millions of patients suffer harm as a result of careless medical treatment and medical malpractice each year.

According to NPSF, experts estimate that up to one in every 10 diagnoses is wrong, delayed, or missed completely and that, collectively, diagnostic errors may account for 40,000-80,000 deaths per year in the U.S. In fact, a study by the Institute of Medicine estimated that as many as 98,000 patients die every year as a result of preventable medical errors. That would rank as the sixth leading cause of death in America if the Centers for Disease Control had a category for these errors.

“All of us will be patients at some point in life, and we should approach that experience the way we would approach any important journey-with careful planning and communication,” says NPSF President Tejal K. Gandhi, MD, MPH, CPPS. “Navigate Your Health…Safely reminds us that providing safe patient care can best be achieved when patients are key members of the team and are encouraged to take an active role in their care.”

Some common examples of medical malpractice or healthcare negligence can include failing to listen to the patient, medication errors, operative errors, failure to diagnose or delays in diagnosis and more.

The NPSF has created a Checklist for Getting the Right Diagnosis. This checklist allows a patient to document needed information and to have an active role in working with their doctors and nurses when they are sick and finding the right diagnosis for their situation. During the week, the NPSF and health care organizations across the country will be holding forums, seminars and providing helpful information and training to doctors, nurses, healthcare providers, patients and consumers.

Some additional helpful information for patients include:

* Florida Health’s Medical Quality Assurance (MQA) Services – Practitioner Profile Information
* Florida Health’s Medical Quality Assurance (MQA) Services – License Verification
* Florida Department of Insurance Regulation – Medical Malpractice Claims
* Medicare.gov – Find Doctors, Hospitals & Facilities
* Worst Pills, Best Pills – Find a Drug, Disease or Side Effect
* Worst Pills Best Pills – Drug Sheet for Patients, Family, Doctor & Pharmacist