Wellness Wisdom: Strategies to Avoid Medical Error

Michelle Clay empower health holistic health safety

The Hippocratic oath, is the oath that all physicians take when receiving their medical degree.
Excerpts from the oath:
"I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of over-treatment and therapeutic nihilism.I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. Above all, I must not play at God. I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure."

Last week, the British Medical Journal released a report stating the third leading cause of death in the United States is due to medical error with cardiovascular disease and cancer ranking number one and two. Medical error has been defined as "an unintended act (either of omission or commission) or one that does not achieve its intended outcome, the failure of a planned action to be completed as intended (an error of execution), the use of a wrong plan to achieve an aim (an error of planning), or a deviation from the process of care that may or may not cause harm to the patient." British Medical Journal May 2016;353:i2139

It is possible that the estimates of deaths due to medical error may be inaccurate. Currently, only the cause of death must be listed on a death certificate. It is suggested that an additional field state if there was a preventable complication in the patient's care that could have lead to their demise. Note that not all medical errors are due only to mistakes or judgement calls by individual physicians, but may also be due to systemic failure such as early discharge or protocols established by the hospital system. The data does not take into account errors in outpatient settings.

What does this mean to you?

3 Wellness Wisdom Pearls to help avoid medical error:  


1. Keep a Health Journal
Your health care journal should list all of your current medications with their dosages to include herbs, supplements, birth control medications and any over-the-counter 

medications. You should also list allergies, surgeries and emergency contact information. Get a copy of all of your test results to  keep in this journal. Remember, you have a right to all of YOUR medical information. You should take this journal with you to all doctor's visits to document what was discussed concerning your care (i.e. tests      ordered, change in medication, follow up appointment etc.), as well as any questions you have prior to your visit and the answers to those questions.

Your health is priceless and should be your number one priority. Do not feel rushed to prematurely end your office visit and miss an opportunity for questions and explanation due to a doctor being behind schedule.


 2. Have a health care advocate     
A healthcare advocate is someone who knows your wishes and desires and can be your mouthpiece if you are too ill to speak for yourself. They can also be your cheerleader and support when you know in your heart the treatment path that is best for you but feel pressured that the doctor has the final say over YOUR medical care and decisions. This may entail having a medical power of attorney and/or medical directives. This should be someone who is of like mind and spirit as you.


 3. Know your body and awaken your physician within
No one knows your body better than you do. It is important to listen to it; it's needs, what energizes it and what slows it down. When you have clarity and are in tune with yourself, you can awaken OUR physician within. You realize that YOU have personal healing power. The true role of the healthcare system and its providers is to assist YOU in your healing process; not dictate.
A few years ago, I was suffering with uterine fibroids which resulted in heavy bleeding and anemia. One day while traveling through San Juan, I passed out. The next day when I went to the doctor, I was told that I was severely anemic with a hemoglobin (red blood cells) of 3.3; normal is between 12 - 16. I was told that I was at risk of having a heart attack or stroke and possibly death;they couldn't understand how I was conscious and in my right mind. The doctor told me I must be transfused with 3 units of blood. My inner voice and DIVINE guidance said that was not the path for me. I declined the transfusion. They then sent 2 more doctors to talk to me to try to convince me to accept the blood transfusion. They went so far as to call my mother! Here I am a 36 year old woman, and the physicians called my mother as if to "tell on me". My mother's reply was, "She is grown, she makes her own decisions." 
I don't recommend people refuse medical care when in a life and death situation. But I do encourage you to trust yourself, what you know to be true and what you hold sacred to lead and direct your steps. I stood my ground and refused. I knew that there was a better way for me and that better way       has allowed me to have a positive impact on others; empowering them with information to inspire a  transformation to be their best, vibrant and  purpose fulfilling selves. Demonstrating how to make the connection between emotional and mental stress and the physical disharmony and dis-eases it manifests. This is how you can discover the root cause of dis-ease and awaken your physician                within.   


Yours in Health,






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