Did you know that medical mistakes are the third-highest cause of preventable deaths?
Physicians are responsible for the wellbeing of their patients and this involves giving them the best care possible. Unfortunately, the nature of healthcare makes the possibility of serious errors quite high.
Doctors are often overworked, which impacts their judgment and ability to function. In a constant high-pressure environment, it’s a lot for any person to manage and this results in mistakes.
While errors are understandable, negligent mistakes that cause serious injury or death are known as medical malpractice. When medical malpractice occurs, this opens up a physician to legal action should the victim or their family choose to sue.
Understanding medical malpractice begins with figuring out what causes it. We’ll look into this below to give you some insight into the problem.
The first way a serious error can happen is through distraction.
Similar to how distraction can cause a car accident, doctors must always be focused on the patient at hand to give them the best treatment possible. Failing to do so means that they don’t have a full grasp of the situation.
In a doctor’s office, many things can result in distraction. Whether it’s a nurse popping in for an update, receiving a page, or something going on in their head, it’s easy to lose focus.
Despite this, physicians must do their best to give you their undivided attention. Much of what they have to work with is what you tell them, but also what you show them.
If a doctor is not carefully watching you, then they may lack the information needed for a proper diagnosis. Distractions make this likely, meaning that some medical malpractice cases can be linked to it.
One of the leading causes of medical malpractice is exhaustion and general fatigue.
Because doctors are so overworked, they often end up pulling long shifts and this will physically tire any human being. It also affects their mental capacity, which leads to poor decision making.
Being fatigued is incredibly dangerous because it can be compared to being intoxicated. This level of mental and physical impairment is hazardous, especially when it’s affecting someone in charge of making medical decisions.
The problem here is that almost any doctor you find is likely fatigued. The number of skilled medical professionals pales in comparison to the total population and those that need assistance.
Considering this, errors caused by exhaustion are natural. That said, they are still considered medical malpractice. Doctors must manage their fatigue levels and avoid working if they cannot think straight, but it often isn’t simple to do.
Poor Mental State
A poor mental state can also lead to medical mistakes.
Exhaustion is one good example of an affected mental state. A tired doctor is likely to be grumpy, impatient, and disinterested, as is anyone who wants nothing more than to go to sleep.
Many more aspects of a doctor’s daily routine can also impact their mood and mindset. They may have personal distractions or be affected by an interaction with another patient. Being a physician is highly taxing and will surely take a toll on anyone.
This creates problems because a poor mental state affects a doctor’s ability to diagnose their patients. If they aren’t thinking clearly, they may not pursue something that should be looked into.
Alternatively, a physician may fail to listen to the patient. This can cause them to make assumptions and prescribe treatment that causes complications.
While having an affected mental state as a physician is understandable, it cannot impact how they treat their patients. When it does, it will be considered medical malpractice.
Lack of Experience
Medical malpractice can also originate from a lack of experience.
Becoming a doctor is a lengthy process entailing several years of education and hands-on experience. It is a long journey for anyone to take and many people do not finish.
Those that do become the physicians that treat you. Despite going through this process, there is simply so much information for a doctor to learn. There are thousands of different conditions and symptoms to be aware of.
It is inconceivable for any doctor to know everything. Especially if a physician is fairly new, like a resident, they won’t have enough experience to properly handle every situation.
Unfortunately, this lack of experience means that every doctor will make mistakes throughout their career as a result of their ignorance.
While a lack of knowledge is a bitter pill to swallow, a physician has the responsibility to learn as much as they can about their patient and their condition. They should consult with peers and other resources to find an appropriate treatment plan.
If an injury or death is caused by a lack of experience, it will be deemed as medical malpractice.
Lastly, inadequate regulations and oversight can also easily cause physicians to make mistakes.
Because many physicians are often overworked, this usually means that hospitals are understaffed. With this in mind, understaffed facilities cannot possibly have adequate oversight.
If every doctor is focused on their patients, who is overseeing them? While doctors do not need to be micromanaged, it helps to have regulations in place that prevent avoidable errors.
For example, an exhausted doctor may forget an important step in a routine procedure. If a policy was in place that each standard procedure had checklists that must be precisely followed, then a skipped step would never occur.
Many hospitals lack the resources to provide the necessary organization and regulation to ensure smooth operations. This trickles down to physicians and impairs their ability to effectively treat their patients and avoid mistakes.
While the structure of hospitals should be improved to prevent them, avoidable mistakes are medical malpractice.
Doctors and medical professionals are some of the most important workers in the world. They keep us healthy and provide treatment when ailments and injuries occur.
These physicians are obligated to give their best effort to keep you safe. If they do not act in alignment with this, then their behavior can be determined as medical malpractice.
A few causes for medical malpractice include distraction, exhaustion, poor mental states, a lack of experience, and inadequate regulations and oversight.
Medical malpractice is shockingly easy considering the factors affecting a physician each day. With this in mind, understand that your physician is human and consider getting a second opinion for anything that doesn’t seem right.
What Interferes with Successful Breastfeeding?
While breastfeeding is ideal, it comes with many difficulties new parents might face.
After experiencing the intensity of labor and delivery, many new parents are left exhausted. Despite this fatigue and surviving pospartum, new parents soon learn the importance of managing the needs of an infant. Putting aside their own desires, parents learn to quickly adapt.
Exhaustion and recovery are not the only things that discourage parents from breastfeeding. There are a variety of other woes that can make it difficult for a lactating parent to continue to choose this option.
While 83 percent of women breastfeed at the beginning of postpartum, there is a drastic reduction by 6 months, resulting in only 56% of babies still being breastfed.
When a lactating woman’s milk comes in, she may experience intense pain and discomfort. The breasts typically become overly filled with milk because they have not yet regulated their supply. This engorgement can continue throughout the breastfeeding journey for a variety of reasons.
If the baby’s schedule changes, a woman’s breasts can become overly full. If the parent misses a feeding, breasts can experience discomfor which can lead to breastfeeding infection. If a woman becomes preoccupied at work and does not make time to pump, she can experience discomfort.
If breast engorgement is not treated properly, milk ducts can become blocked, and if a woman does not work to move the milk through her breasts (via feeding her baby, pumping, or expressing the milk), this engorgement can lead to further problems and may cause clogged milk ducts.
One of the biggest concerns beyond the pain a woman experiences with engorgement is infection. This is known as mastitis, and leads to a woman experiencing not only breast pain and warm breast tissue, but also flu-like symptoms that come with fever, chills, headache, and further exhaustion.
In order to help prevent infection, regular feedings are essential. Often, the best mastitis treatment, at least for early symptoms, is to massage the breast in a warm shower and express the extra milk.
Furthermore, by working with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), parents can have a great resource on how to best deal with, treat, and alleviate these problems.
Not only is an IBCLC a great resource in helping prevent breast infection, but a great source for your breastfeeding journey to encourage and educate you in best practices.
The best way to achieve breastfeeding success is to utilize the many tools that an IBCLC offers.
To exclusively breastfeed your baby can be quite overwhelming and exhausting. Between nightly feedings, cluster feedings, and pumping sessions for working mothers, breastfeeding is difficult to maintain. Unless a woman is properly supported by her family, friends, and workplace, the chances that a woman will continue to breastfeed are significantly impacted.
Culture also impacts the likelihood of a baby being breastfed beyond 6 months. The CDC discovered that parents in the Southeast United States are less likely to breastfeed their children past six months. This was in contrast to the Northwest, where business policies and the culture is more breastfeeding-friendly and supportive.
Despite the nutritional benefits afforded to a breastfed baby, there are many obstacles that can be discouraging for parents on their breastfeeding journey. From exhaustion to pain to lack of supoort, parents have many reasons to give up.
To increase your chances of success, surround yourself with supportive individuals, reach out to an IBCLC, also known as lactation consultants, and gain the necessary tools required to provide your child with the healthiest option available – you!
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