Medical emergencies are, by definition, sudden and unexpected. In this episode of The No-Mistake Zone, you’ll learn how to avoid the 5 most common mistakes people make in an emergency.
In those first few minutes, it can be difficult to decide: Go to the ER or urgent care clinic? Dial 911 or wait it out? Car or ambulance? You have to seriously judge the patient’s:
Symptoms that require immediate 911 attention include, but are not limited to:
Medical error is the 3rd leading cause of death in U.S., and while the causes of medical mistakes are many, it often begins with poor communication. Give the staff your full range of symptoms and medical history. Be clear and detailed about what you think your problem is — even if you are cut short.
Parents and grandparents take note: When you have the luxury of time and choice, always take your child to the closest Pediatric Emergency Department. Only dedicated pediatric ERs and children’s hospitals have the specialists, equipment, and technology necessary to care for critically ill children. In a true emergency, an ambulance will take you to the best closest hospital. But if you are driving yourself, a pediatric ER will have the most experienced staff, and the best equipment and technology to care for your child.
Find out who you are dealing with when you are discussing your care. If a clinician doesn’t introduce him or herself, just ask: Are you a resident or the attending physician? If you get admitted to the hospital, chances are you will have numerous students coming to your bedside throughout your stay, and that’s fine. But if you are dealing with a complex issue, be sure to ask that the attending physician be the one caring for you and making the important decisions about your treatment.
Whether you’ve been admitted to the hospital for surgery or treatment, or you’ve just spent the better part of your day in the Emergency Department, it’s crucial that you get detailed instructions at discharge. That means you need to find out:
For more helpful tips, see The Patient’s Playbook, Chapter 7, Emergency Room 101.
Originally published at medium.com