Treatment error: doctors break their silence

The child, nine months old, is restless, it cries often, the mother is worried. The young doctor listens to heart and lungs, finds nothing conspicuous, sees only a reddened neck - it's flu time. She diagnoses an incipient influenza infection. In fact, the kid has a hernia.

"Even today, I feel the breeze of the Damocles sword above me," says Vittoria Braun, who once made the wrong diagnosis as a young doctor. Today she is a professor at the Berlin Charité - and one of 17 brave doctors, nurses and therapists working in the Brochure "Learning from mistakes" of the Alliance for Patient Safety openly talk about their own treatment errors.

Most incidents are kept secret

Around 17 million hospital treatments are performed by German doctors every year. In up to 560,000 of these cases, a doctor underrun a mistake in the treatment, estimates the action alliance patient safety. But usually the incidents are concealed - The physicians are afraid of complaining and losing the trust of the patients. And many doctors still do not want to admit that they are not infallible.

"Where people work, mistakes can not be avoided"Especially when you take into account the complex and fast processes in modern medicine and nursing," write in the preface of the brochure the President of the Medical Association Jörg-Dietrich Hoppe and Matthias Schrappe, chairman of the Action Alliance. "They want to encourage doctors and nurses to admit mistakes." High quality and safety of health care can only be maintained in the longer term if everyone consistently tries to learn from avoidable mistakes, damage and near-damage. "

Lack of time and misunderstandings

The cases make it clear that by no means incompetence of the medical profession is responsible for the mistakes. Much more often lack of time and misunderstandings behind it, A surgeon tells how he operated on a young jumper on the wrong knee - the wrong side had been noted on the operation consent. A nurse describes how she fixes a cannula in a troubled patient with tracheotomy. She has to interrupt her work to rush to the next patient. When she returns to the woman, she has tried to fix the cannula and is suffocated.

"Since that event, I've always reacted to the whole person, taking him and his needs seriously, and I'm not letting myself be put under any pressure," the nurse writes. And also the surgeon learned from the incident with the wrong knee. Before surgery, he now marks the knee to be operated on with a non-wipeable pen - before the patient gets his anesthetic.

Starting Medical School at Age 37– Terrible Idea? | Wednesday Checkup (July 2020).

Doctor's office, Charité, hospital, doctor, malpractice, treatment errors, patient safety