What is Iatrogenic?

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What is Iatrogenic?
Iatrogenic refers to “being caused by the action of doctors and/or surgeons”. Results of these actions are referred to as “Iatrogenic Conditions” or “Iatrogenesis”. Iatrogenesis is a result of various mistakes committed by medical personnel during the treatment process.

Iatrogenesis may be caused by the doctor’s negligence, medical misadventure, lack of medical information, poor sanitation in medical facilities, mistakes in diagnosis, drug interactions, adverse drug effects, and poor medical practices. Symptoms of iatrogenic conditions vary depending on the medical condition involved. Treatment also relies on the re-evaluation or re-assessment of the patient’s condition to prevent progression of the disease or even death.

Some form of iatrogenesis is expected for some medical conditions, especially when drug treatment is involved. Various drugs have been known to have side effects and some may have undesirable effects when taken with other drugs. Other drugs also need to be taken in extremely high doses to obtain the desired effects. Just like in chemotherapy, drugs are introduced into the bloodstream to target cancer cells, but along with its main action, other non-cancer cells are compromised and damaged in the process. It is a different case though when doctors fail to give the right medication for a particular condition. This may be due to negligence or lack of medical knowledge. Mistakes made during evaluation and diagnosis may also contribute to wrong drug prescription.

Iatrogenesis can also occur during surgery. It is not uncommon that some doctors mistakenly operate on the wrong part of the body. Some even operate on the wrong patient. Many of these instances are caused by poor medical procedures, lack of medical information, and/or negligence.

Many deaths have already resulted because of Iatrogenesis. Great care must be taken, not only by medical professionals, but also by the patients and their families when seeking medical treatment.

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