Each community has its own peculiar moral code. There is nothing inherently wrong with that. After all, in many respects it is laudable to live by such a code. When the group's code is counter to the interests of others, however, problems can arise.
Some of the most popular shows on television have been about young doctors working as interns in a hospital setting. However, the shows often glamorize a job that is grueling and challenging. In reality, interns at Providence hospitals are expected to work long hours with little sleep, avoid making medical errors and provide the best quality of care to their patients. As more attention is being placed on delayed diagnosis, medication errors, and the increasing number of risks to patients, some wonder if the traditional intern program is really effective.
Millions of people are without health insurance but new federal laws are designed to provide health coverage to everyone. As a result, this means that doctors and surgeons in Providence will likely be busier than ever before, and with the rise of patient numbers, comes a higher risk of surgical errors being made. One of the most common errors that can occur with negligent operating staff is leaving surgical sponges and other items inside the body.
Patients generally have a lot of trust and faith in their doctor's skills, and when they are the victims of medical errors, they can be devastated. What sometimes adds insult to injury is the fact that they fail to receive a simple apology from the doctor or some other form of sympathy. While spoken words will not fix a physician error that has caused the patient pain and further suffering, it can help the patient feel reassured that the doctor is a caring professional.
When we look at history, it is easy to point out that the lack of education in hygiene and proper medical procedures contributed to many deaths. During the Civil War, thousands of soldiers died because doctors had little knowledge about infections and fevers. However, today we have a vast amount of information and have made significant breakthroughs when it comes to caring for the sick. Yet the number of doctor errors being made seems to indicate that something is still missing.
Cancer comes in many forms and it is fast becoming a major killer in our society. Practically everyone in Providence knows someone who has had cancer or died from it. When it comes to cancer, the earlier it is detected and the patient starts receiving treatment for it, the higher the survival rate is. Yet patients are often victims of cancer misdiagnosis, which can greatly impact their chance of beating the disease. For these victims, often the delay in the diagnosis of cancer is a death sentence because by the time the mistake is discovered, they are in the final stage and no treatment can save them.
With a shortage of doctors, those in the medical profession will have even more patients to care for as more and more people get access to affordable and regular health care. This could lead to increased risks of doctor errors being made.
Every day, hundreds of surgeries are performed on patients. While most procedures run smoothly, some patients are not quite so lucky. For any Providence residents who have been the victim of a surgeon mistake, the effects can be life changing. Some patients have developed a blood infection, some struggle with simple movement in one of their arms or legs, and some patients have even died. The sad truth is that some surgical errors can easily be avoided if the surgeon, or the surgical staff, had taken an extra moment to double check the patient and what is required.
Even in a world of advanced medicine, doctors are still found to make mistakes and act negligently toward their patients. While patients generally believe that these kinds of doctors will be prevented from practicing medicine, all too often, unqualified doctors in Rhode Island and in other states are allowed to continue to care for patients. The suspension of a doctor's license lies with a licensing board that may be reluctant to take action.
The 2005 federal Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act is a federal law that encourages physicians, pharmacies and hospitals to report medical errors and related information to organizations involved in patient safety by shielding these reports from becoming exposed publically. Now two unrelated cases in another state are questioning the law's reach and the outcome could affect other states, including Rhode Island.