The American health care industry is going through tremendous changes. One of the changes most apparent to patients is the dilution of the physician-patient relationship. In the past, a single doctor would be the patient's primary point of contact for their health care needs.
In 2009, a young woman was admitted to a New York hospital after overdosing on a combination of pharmaceutical drugs. Despite showing signs of life, such as curling her toes and demonstrating resistance to being placed on a ventilator, the patient was declared dead and the hospital staff prepared to remove her organs for donation to needy patients.
Unbelievably, a hospital turned an urban myth into reality when it transplanted a kidney into the incorrect patient. Perhaps wisely, the Methodist Dallas Medical Center isn't disclosing many details on how it committed this monumental mistake, other than to say that it was caused by a "human error."
A recent study revealed that emergency room errors are twice as likely to occur when the patient doesn't speak English. Researchers discovered that the heightened medical-error rate could easily be lowered by staffing ERs with interpreter-translators.
A recent study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine that Ohio residents may be interested in examined how doctors communicate with patients. The study results show how the nonverbal component of communication, such as gestures, body position, and facial expression, can be just as important as what your doctor actually says.