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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Rights of a Patient - Right to be informed of harm occurring to them because of the medical system

I am writing this post to make patients all over the world aware that there is a significant risk of harm occurring to themselves or to their near and dear ones who are receiving medical care in a hospital. This is because human error is always possible - even in the best hands. Apart from human errors, there can be machine-led errors, systemic errors and other forms of misfortune that can befall users of medical systems.

As per prevailing ethics, patients or their wards have the right to be informed about any and every form of such errors that cause them any kind of misfortune. This is called the duty of candour or honesty all over the developed world. In the U.K., where I work, this duty of candour has been in place since the past few years. 

Doctors are expected to contact you in person, be empathetic and inform you in detail about what happened, why it happened and what is being done to mitigate the effects of this mistake. They are also expected to report the event on their medical system through what is known as the "Incident Report". They will have to inform their line managers as well. A detailed conversation must include the assurance that the incident will be investigated thoroughly, and responsibility will be fixed. The patient/caretaker must also be told that this investigation would guide the hospital to take steps that would prevent a repetition of the same error in the future.

So, there you have it. You have a right to know if you/the patient you are responsible for has been harmed in any way through a preventable error made by a faulty system.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Invited Post on Cleft Lip Surgery options in India

Cleft - A Smile Is What We Need

Cleft is an orofacial condition where the baby is born with a gap in the lip (cleft lip) or roof of the mouth (cleft palate) or both. It is a birth defect during pregnancy when different areas of the face that developed individually join together, but fail to join properly near the mouth and the lips leading to a split or a cleft. If the separation occurs near the lips then it is known as cleft lip, and if it is near the mouth then cleft palate.
It may or may not be detected during pregnancy by an ultrasound test. One in every 700 children is found to have this birth defect.
A definite reason behind it hasn't been detected yet, but several cases related to clefts are thought to be a result of genetic and environmental combinations. Vitamin deficiencies like lack of folic acid during pregnancy along with consumption of alcohol, anti-seizure medicines and steroid tablets, and smoking are the most common cases why this occurs.
If not treated on time, Cleft can have multiple adverse effects on the child. Apart from feeding problems, the child can become susceptible to infections related to ear, nose, teeth and speech, along with psychological and social problems at a later stage. Special advice from feeding or speech therapist must be sought while breastfeeding the baby affected with the cleft lip as it may find it difficult to form a grip around the breast, and it may choke due to cleft palate if not positioned carefully.
Luckily there are affordable surgery packages in India for treating cleft lip and cleft palate deformities in India. Plastic surgeons can close the cleft by connecting the muscles of the soft palate and rearranging the tissues to close the palate. The surgery takes 1 - 2 hours to complete and requires 4 - 5 days of stay in the hospital for recovery.
Surgery can be conducted once the child is two to three months old. It is important to monitor the child's growth to ensure that it is ready for the cleft lip surgery and cleft palate surgery.
  • Care must be taken with the child's diet to ensure that it is healthy and gains weight before the surgery.
  • Child's blood type and count must be checked.
  • A thorough physical examination of your child must be done along with complete medical history examination.
  • Share all the details regarding the medicines consumed by your child with the doctor.
  • Get complete clarity regarding the medicines that can be consumed on the day of, and post-surgery.
A pink light scar can be visible after cleft lip surgery. Soreness and irritability are commonly experienced after cleft palate surgery. Chances of infection while in the hospital can be minimized by prescribing antibiotics. Clear instructions for general care and feeding must be sought for from the doctor right after the surgery. The stitches need not be cut open surgically as it usually dissolves during the recovery period.
The cost difference between cleft lip surgery and cleft palate surgery in India and in the West is huge, where India charges only one-tenth of what is charged across shores.

There are numerous success stories behind these surgeries. Each child is entitled to an uninhibited smile so let's make that happen by taking action!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Welcome the bundle of joy

As a woman embarks on the journey of pregnancy, she brings with her a lot of hope and happiness for her family. Right from her food to her lifestyle directly or indirectly impacts the baby in the womb. The extra care that is taken during these intense periods of foetal development, go a long way in having a healthy baby. An expecting mother should always be treated with care and love by her near and dear ones, to keep her positive and happy. This combination of physical and mental wellbeing is imperative to create a positive pregnancy experience.
Here are some of the things the mother and her family can follow to prepare themselves in welcoming the bundle of joy.
·         Eat healthy foods rich in iron, calcium, vitamins and folic acid. Eat at regular intervals and do not stick to the three-meal a day regime. During the initial months of nausea, keep your body well hydrated and eat foods that are filling and healthy.
·         Practice a fitness routine by doing simple walking or pregnancy yoga. It not only helps to stay active but also helps in strengthening the muscles that are essential during childbirth.  Choose the exercises that are suitable to the corresponding stage of pregnancy and always learn it from a trained professional.
·         Always keep the mind and thoughts positive. Read books that are motivational in nature and listen to soft music to keep the mind always calm.
·         Do not skip any doctor visits and scans, as regularly monitoring the health of the mother and baby is very important.
·         Always verify facts or clarify from your doctor about any kind of myths related to pregnancy. Many varied opinions about what is the best food or what is the right sleeping position can be offered to the expecting mother. Clarify it with your doctor and understand the scientific basis behind the suggestions before following them blindly.
·         Towards the end of the third semester keep a bag of essentials ready to be taken to the hospital. It will be very handy to the caregivers during and after the delivery.
·         Try to find some help during the post-partum period as it can be overwhelming for the mother and the baby. Especially first-time mothers can choose a person who they are very comfortable with, to help them with the baby right after the delivery.
·         After the delivery, take the help of the doctor or a good lactation consultant to establish breastfeeding. Breast milk is the most nutritious fluid for a baby and mastering the art of feeding a baby can be tricky without proper guidance or help.
·         Family members and husband, in particular, can help the mother with the newborn and give her some much-needed rest. The entire pregnancy and childbirth can be a very energy draining process for the woman and helping her to get adequate rest can help her get back to normalcy quickly.

There are many world-class maternity hospitals in India today that offer premium pregnancy care for expectant mothers. Choosing the right hospital with proper pre and post-partum care can make the birthing experience very smooth and joyful. 

P.S. This is a sponsored post.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

New Widget for all the information you need as a patient or parent

Dear Reader,

UpToDate is the most advanced medical information website in the world. While the information for doctors and healthcare workers is something that they charge the medical professionals for, the information for patients is available for free. There are two levels of information: Basics - which is appropriate for patients who are able to understand at the 5th to 8th-grade level, and Beyond the Basics - for more learned individuals. 

I have added the widget for this information on my blog. Check it out on the top right. Enter the search terms and you will be taken to the UpToDate website where there will be links to the information you need. You can simply print it out or email it to yourself. 

Nifty, isn't it? Do try it out!

Great Offer

Dr. Fuhrman

Dr. Fuhrman