Questions Are the Answer - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/7/07

Questions Are the Answer

We hear horror stories about medical mistakes and we hope that they are rare, but the government estimates 98,000 patients die every year because of those errors. So a new campaign is underway called "Questions are the Answer".

It's a new plan by the federal government to convince patients not to be afraid to ask questions. For example: a new study by four medical groups finds surgical mistakes involving medications happen three times more often than other medical errors and children are most at risk. 

"A dose for a child might be one milligram, but a dose for an adult might be ten milligrams. That ten-fold error might not be as obvious to a health care professional handling the drug," said Diane Cousins, of the United States Pharmacopeia.  

"One question could be the determining factor whether a person lives or not," said  Sue Sheridan, a consumers advancing patient safety.

There are 10 questions the department of health and human services says you should ask before a test, surgery or even new medication.

1.   What is the test for?
2.   How many times have you done this?
3.   When will I get the results?
4.   Why do I need this surgery?
5.   Are there any alternatives to surgery?
6.   What are the possible complications?
7.   Which hospital is best for my needs?
8.   How do you spell the name of that drug?
9.   Are there any side effects?
10. Will this medicine interact with medicines that I'm already taking?

To find out what questions to ask your doctors, log on to http://www.ahrq.gov/questionsaretheanswer.

You can print a list of customized questions to ask about your medical situation.

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