By Sandy Wells KABC News
A new, frightening statistic from John Hopkins researchers says medical mistakes are the third-leading cause of death in the United States, after heart disease and cancer. Dr. Larry Schlachter has written a book – Malpractice: A Neurosurgeon Reveals How Our Health Care System Puts Patients at Risk – to help people improve their chances of survival in the hospital. He says the problem is serious.
“It’s the equivalent of two 747’s crashing every day in the United States. I would propose the question, if one crashed, how long would it take the NTSB to figure out what happened?”
Dr. Schlachter wrote the book after practicing medicine for 30 years. He says patients should make sure that their doctor is competent before having surgery.
“They need to advocate for themselves. They need to ask the doctor why? They need to ask the doctor how many times have you done this operation? What kind of complications have you had? What kind of training have you had? It’s OK to ask these questions. You won’t get the doctor aggravated.”
You can also check the websites of the state medical boards and see if the doctor has been sued, if he’s been written up in the newspapers or in a TV news expose.
“All these are the patients responsibility.”
He says most hospitals and doctors in the country are very good, but it is a good idea to do a little investigating just to be sure.
Dr. Sclachter was a guest on 790 KABC’s McIntyre in the Morning Show with Doug McIntyre and Leeann Tweeden.
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