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Avoidable errors

Thursday February 3 2005 08:07 IST

By Karmayogi

Experts in management know that avoiding avoidable waste changes a losing company into a profit-making one. Waste becomes a source of prestige and status, especially with the newly rich. To them the capacity to waste is a sign of assured abundance. It is a superstition.

Not only is it a superstition, but it is inevitable, as a toddler cannot learn walking avoiding the fall. But to enjoy falling at the age of 3 is not wise. It is more than ignorance, a capacity to enjoy being ignorant commonly called superstition.

It is pardonable in nations that are developing. It is said a million patients are infected variously every year in the USA by doctors not washing their hands. I wish such studies are instituted in our country. Doctors advise their patients who are close to them not to trust the test results as the lab often does not carry out the test, but approximately fills in the columns activating its imagination.

Laws, unbailable at that, prescribing jail terms to such people will help the cause of humanity. But we cannot be too righteous about such things as in our own life there are plenty of aspects resembling such crimes. Should there be an outraged emotion, it is best directed against the Self. As the CT scan was, for some reason, working in the reverse, a surgeon operated on the wrong lobe of the patient's brain. It is a misfortune. It was in USA.

Interns work long hours, miss their sleep, have to take important decisions in emergencies. As against a normal work week of 40 hours, they go up to 80 hours ordinarily, or occasionally to 130 hours. The wrong diagnosis in ICUs is up to 39%. It is a surprise that in these advanced nations, even in sophisticated hospitals, the capacity to change, change for the better is little. There are some hospitals which abound in errors in prescriptions, often leading to fatality. An experiment was conducted to eliminate the errors. Doctors were sent to institutes to correct their handwriting.

The computer was introduced and 86% of such errors were eliminated. This is their own experience. Still, the resistance to avoid these errors, the unwillingness to change old habits, is great. Any new invention corrects to a very large extent, even up to 90% the errors of an old method.

The ills of such hospitals can be minimised or eradicated if computer is introduced to prevent them. They know that pilots double check before they enter their planes, but are unwilling to adopt similar measures. A machine - computer - cannot err, where a man out of laziness or forgetfulness errs. In this sense, the computer is a boon. The scope of introducing the computer is vast. E.g. the 40% wrong diagnosis can be fully avoided if computer crosschecks the diagnosis.

Man can be tense in the ICU, not the machine. Man forgets many related aspects, the computer will not. To avail of a comfort is to be civilised. To do so for purposes of saving lives is to be human. Avoid the errors, usher in Prosperity.
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