When the press discusses medical mistakes they are usually referring to mistakes made in a hospital, but guess what, mistakes are often made in a doctors office. These mistakes are not counted in the statistics often quoted.

Twelve year old data from the Institute of Medicine sites the horrific statistic that each year between 44,000 and 98,000 Americans die each year from preventable medical errors. This terribly high number does not include errors made in a doctors office.

More medical procedures now happen in a doctor that used to take place only in hospitals. Along with this increase in office procedures there are inevitably more and more office errors happening everyday.

The CDC has recognized this problem and has issued guidelines for infection control in a doctor’s office. The development of these guidelines in direct response to a number of terrible errors. Often, these errors are a direct result of an attempt to save money, speed procedures, laziness or just simple

This begs the question about why it is even necessary to have issued these guidelines. We all have every right to expect that all of our healthcare providers work to protect us. Clearly, this is not always the case.

The other problem is that violating these guidelines often do not have consequences!

What does this mean to us patients, including those of us who have advanced prostate cancer, we are responsible to always be vigilant about our healthcare providers. If you see a problem say something immediately, demand that the problem be immediately corrected. If you see constant problems don’t hesitate to report the doctor to the local society.

Joel T Nowak, MA, MSW