Patients look up to doctors as their life-savers, they expect them to give the best treatment and to restore their health completely. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the doctors and the entire medical staff to serve patients with complete adherence, so that patients can recover at the earliest and their health problems are treated to the best.
However, doctors are humans and humans can make mistakes. And, a mistake committed by a doctor can have serious implications not only on a patient’s life but on the lives of the people associated with them, therefore, be avoided at all costs. A report by the WHO stated that medical errors are amongst the top ten killers. It is said that 1 in every 10 patients admitted to a hospital experiences an adverse event. Even a slightest mistake by the medical staff can actually jeopardize the life of the patient while a few safety measures can save their life. The WHO has put down certain guidelines for patient safety, which all doctors and medical staff should be careful about.
4 Things that doctors and medical staff must remember.
- Prevent the spread of infections: At any given point of in time, 5.2 million people in India suffer from one or the other infections due to medical errors. Offering single bedrooms are an effective way to limit the transmission of infections from one patient to another. Also, it is important to pay attention the air filtration system and provide multiple hand wash stations. Simple measures can also help reduce blood stream infections associated with a central line. Whenever, a venous catheter needs to be inserted, wash hands, clean the skin thoroughly, remove unnecessary lines and only then perform the insertion.
- Pick Blood Donors Carefully: Many surgical procedures and treatments require blood transfusions. If attention is not paid to testing blood before it is administered to the patient, there could be serious complications. It is the duty of the hospital to provide safe and sufficient blood supply. For this, the World Health Organization recommends a proper assessment of blood donors and testing their suitability to donate blood at each occasion. Blood transfusion services should also be able to screen for diseases that can be transmitted through transfusion.
- Use Good Design Principles: A fall from a chair or bed can elongate a patient’s recovery. Hence, pay attention to how the hospital has been designed to reduce the risk of such events. Avoid steps and slippery tiles as far as possible. Sensitive bed and chair alarms could also be used to alert a nurse whenever a patient needs assistance. Nurse stations should also be decentralized so that the nurses have easy access to the patients. According to WHO guidelines, a hospital’s ventilation system should provide a minimum average ventilation rate of 60 l/s/patient for general wards.
- Prevent Surgical Infections: Surgical infections are rare but they still can happen. To reduce the risk of surgical infections, doctors and nurses must sanitize their arms up to their elbows with antiseptic soap before performing surgery. According to WHO guidelines, hands must be washed for a minimum of 2 minutes before any procedure. Special, gowns, masks, hair covers and gloves must be used by anyone in the operation theatre. After surgery, the caregivers must again wash their hands and forearms with antiseptic soaps, even though their skin did not come in direct contact with the patient.
In case of any concern or query consult an expert!