Iatrogenic events during treatment


When medical or surgical treatment causes a new illness or injury, the result is considered iatrogenic. If you or your child seek medical attention, one of your worst fears could be that something will go wrong as a result of the treatment. An iatrogenic event can complicate your current medical condition or cause health problems unrelated to the disease for which you first sought treatment.

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These situations are rarely intentional, although healthcare professionals are human and can make mistakes. While you can't rule out the risk of an iatrogenic event, there are things you can do to reduce it.

Examples of iatrogenic events

"Iatrogenic" comes from the Greek language. Yatros means doctor or healer, and gennan means as a result. Therefore, this word literally means "as a result of medical care."

Iatrogenic events can be caused by any number of medical mistakes or oversights. They can occur during a hospital stay or a routine doctor visit, and there is no single cause, health condition, or circumstance associated with these phenomena. Iatrogenic events can lead to physical, mental, or emotional problems or, in some cases, even death.

Here are some examples of iatrogenic events:

  • If it becomes infected because the healthcare professional did not wash their hands after touching a previous patient, it will be considered an iatrogenic infection .
  • If you had surgery and the wrong kidney was removed or the wrong knee was replaced , it is considered an iatrogenic injury.
  • If you are prescribed medications that are known to interact with each other, but are not informed of the risk, the adverse outcome is considered iatrogenic.
  • If psychological therapy leads to a deterioration in mental health, such a result is considered an iatrogenic illness.

Different points of view

If a new illness or injury is caused by the medical attention of a healthcare provider, it is classified as iatrogenic. While it may sound straightforward, these events may be viewed differently by patients, healthcare providers, hospitals, and attorneys.

As a patient or a parent of a patient, you would be anxious to know if you would not get sick or hurt if you had not contacted the health care system. Your priority is to know what your results are in the short and long term.

Your healthcare provider, nurses, and therapists are trying to take precautions to avoid a medical error that could be considered iatrogenic. These mistakes, of course, are never deliberate, but they are no less harmful to the patient. However, some of the recommended treatments are known to have side effects, and your healthcare team will weigh the pros and cons of these treatments with you and alert you to the risks.

Hospitals are concerned with preventing iatrogenic events, but tend to look at the bigger picture, identifying trends and areas that need to be worked on to improve the entire system.

And government and legal systems tend to be more concerned with defining exactly what constitutes an iatrogenic event.

How often do they occur?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) , "On any given day, approximately one in 25 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-related infection." But the total number of all types of iatrogenic phenomena is difficult to determine.

There are a number of reasons for this:

  • Reported statistics tend to focus on deaths rather than all side effects, primarily because death is easier to define.
  • Some studies are being done to collect data on very specific outcomes, such as iatrogenic spleen injury. Although numerous studies make it difficult to calculate the total number of iatrogenic events, they are useful in the development of preventive methods because they are highly targeted.
  • It can be difficult to determine if the event was iatrogenic. If someone experiences vomiting and dehydration as a result of taking antibiotics that have cleared the infection, it may or may not be considered iatrogenic.
  • Many events go unnoticed, either through lack of recognition, fear on the part of the healthcare provider, or unclear reporting systems.

What you can do to prevent iatrogenic events

As a patient or parent, there are several steps you can take to prevent iatrogenic events with yourself or your loved ones:

  • Try to understand what you are dealing with and ask as many questions as you need to calm your mind.
  • After any procedure, be aware of possible side effects and see your doctor right away if you notice anything that bothers you.
  • Try to take a trusted family member or friend to the doctor. Although you must provide your medical history and a list of medications and allergies, you may forget some details when you get sick. This extra pair of eyes and ears can provide you with valuable grooming information.
  • Communicate clearly and respectfully with your healthcare provider. Research shows that those who do this tend to receive better care.

Get Meds Info Word

Reducing iatrogenic events is an important goal for any healthcare or government system, as it prevents illness, pain, discomfort, and even death. When policy and funding are focused on creating a collaborative and productive healthcare environment to prevent medical errors, there can be very good results.

For example, the Association for Patients (PfP) was created as a national initiative sponsored by the US Department of Health and the Centers for Human Services for Medicare and Medicaid to reduce preventable hospital acquired conditions in the system. of Military Health (MHS). The program is still ongoing and early initiatives reduced hospital admissions by 15.8 percent and decreased readmissions by 11.1 percent, demonstrating that well-organized processes can reduce iatrogenic events.

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