A telephone poll by Wolters Kluwer Health asked U.S. health care consumers about medical mistakes, and found them quite jumpy on the subject.
Seventy-three percent of respondents said they were “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about medical errors in their own treatment -- though only 30% said they or someone they knew had experienced, and 21% said they had been "misdiagnosed" (though 45% say they've experienced a medical billing error.)
Thirty-five percent of respondents agreed miscommunication among hospital staff was a factor in medical errors; 26% thought doctors or nurses being in a hurry was a factor.
Also, 56% of respondents said they'd gone so far as to have a second opinion out of fear of erroneous treatment -- and 19% said they'd "delayed a procedure for a day when the doctor may be more focused or rested." Eighteen percent said they'd asked a doctor or nurse to wash their hands.
It's hard to know what to do with such subjective responses, but Wolters Kluwer makes much of respondents' positive feelings about medical technology -- e.g., "68% agree that technology has had a positive impact in reducing the chance for medical mistakes." Other commentators such as FierceHealthIT like this angle too. We're sure there's something to it, but frankly we're more impressed by how neurotic some of these people are. Forgive the expression, but life's too short.