Tag Archives: Medicine

Medicine: A Double-edged Sword

Patient-safety-allianceToday’s medicine is like a double edged sword, it can benefit but also harm

In the last article, I wrote the story of Richie Williams and his doctor Dr Lee. Richie was wrongly injected vincristine intrathecally (in the spinal space). Richie lost his life. Dr. Lee committed suicide later. Both were the victims of medical accidents. The first victim was the patient and the relatives and the second victim was the doctor and other healthcare professionals.

Let us analyse the sequence of events. Why did such an error occur? Behind such incidences we always find the people involved. But why did these people make such an error? The science of patient safety states three main factors: the human factor, the system factor and, above all, the factor of the complex healthcare system.

Today’s medicine: a double-edged sword

When we see a picture of a doctor in the 18th century, we see a doctor with few things such as stethoscope, torch and a small bag of medicines. And we typically see a doctor holding the patient’s hand with empathy. Now let us imagine a picture of today’s doctor. What do we see? Big hospitals or clinics, nurses fluttering around in hurry, huge machines and then the doctor who is examining the patient using some device or gadget or reading some reports or looking at a computer screen. In fact, we can’t imagine today’s doctor working without reports, gadgets and the help of others. Continue reading