Did you know about Doctor’s disease?

Doctor’s disease is a disease or injury that can be inflicted on a patient as a result of a mistake from the healthcare provider.  In most cases people fall sick and rush to the hospital looking for rescue from health care providers but on an unfortunate day, one can instead acquire or get infected with diseases instead of getting healed or cured. 
Dr. Joseph Kamugisha
Dr. Joseph Kamugisha

Doctor’s disease is a disease or injury that can be inflicted on a patient as a result of a mistake from the healthcare provider. 

In most cases people fall sick and rush to the hospital looking for rescue from health care providers but on an unfortunate day, one can instead acquire or get infected with diseases instead of getting healed or cured. 

Normally medical professionalism rests on pillars such as ethics, autonomy and expertise. Expertise derives from the trend of specialised knowledge and skills whose utility is constantly invigorated by the results of research. 

Ethical behaviour flows from a unique combination of values and standards, where doctors are expected to put their patient’s interests ahead of their own. Autonomy means that society is willing to allow the profession to function independently because it expects the profession to police itself.

Doctors’ autonomy also depends on criteria such an unusual degree of knowledge and skill involved in medical work that can only be regulated by doctors. 

The medical staff that deal with the medical activities of hospitals include; specialists who are trained to treat particular parts of the body and their illnesses, general practitioners who deals with all clinical illnesses of the patient, and nurses who in most cases offer first aid treatment to patients. 

There are factors that may prompt doctors to make unusual mistakes that can be from drugs prescription or technical malpractice.

Drugs

Drugs misuse has been dependent on various factors that partly originate from mistakes in prescription by doctors and or pharmacists as well as the manufacturing firms that may supply substandard drugs that end up in hospitals or health organisations.

There are situations where a doctor prescribes a drug that is contrary to the illness or disease that the patient is suffering from. In this case, the patient can take full dosage of the medicine; suffer secondary side effects of the drug that can even deteriorate his health condition. 

Doctors prescribe drugs to patients based on the health condition of the patient, age of the patient, weight and nutritional status among others. All these are factors that doctors may consider when prescribing drugs to patients. 

Doctors are trained to know the action of drugs, their therapeutical use are commensurate to particular body illness. For example, some drugs are harmful when taken in overdose or when taken at wrong times.  

Sometimes pharmaceutical firms also mislead physicians in therapeutic use of drugs in that instead of promoting drugs to treat diseases, they develop strategy to convince as many people as possible along with their doctors of course that they have medical conditions that require long-term drug treatment.

Technical malpractice 

Some patients, especially in developing world, suffer injuries termed as iatrogenic injuries. These are circumstances where the doctor’s misuse of his profession skill causes an injury to the patient. 

These circumstances have, in most cases, been seen in many surgical cases where doctors may cut a tissue or part of the body system unconsciously while operating a patient or leave some medical instruments inside the body. 

For example, a mistakenly cut or ruptured blood vessel can cause prolonged bleeding, loss of a large quantity of blood in a short period of time that in most cases lead to shock and death is always a major concern to surgeons. Injured nerves always lead to paralysis and dysfunction of some body parts.

Poor suturing is always another procedure that some surgeons manifest malpractice. Poor closure for example of the abdominal wall can expose the peritoneum and some internal organs like the intestines. This communication of the internal organs and the external environment is dangerous because it invites septic infections that in most cases lead to death.

Nurses in hospitals are always charged with duties such as administration of drugs to patients through intravenous or intra-muscular injections, clean injured parts or exposed parts of the body. There duties are so sensitive in a way that if not done cautiously can lead to permanent damage of the body or health of the patient. 

Complication such as pain due to injured nerve or blood vessel, abscess formation, necrosis of the tissue and bleeding are among the negative consequences from poor nursing skills. 

The writer is a resident oncologist in Jerusalem, Israel.