Iatrogenesis

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(Redirected from Iatrogenic)

An iatrogenic (pronounced , IPA) condition is a state of ill health or adverse effect caused by medical treatment, usually due to mistakes made in treatment. The word literally means "caused by a doctor" (iatros means physician in Greek), though such conditions can be the fault of therapists or pharmacists as well.

Iatrogenic conditions can include medical errors, such as mistakes made in surgery, or the prescription or dispensing of the wrong drug. For instance, because most drug prescriptions are handwritten by the doctor, poor handwriting can lead a pharmacist to dispense the wrong drug, worsening a patient's condition.

Iatrogenic conditions can also be caused by various types of genital modification and mutilation. In cases of male circumcision, which is carried out on a majority of American males in infancy, iatrogenic effects have been documented, including hypospadias and microphallus.

A very common iatrogenic effect is caused by drug interaction, i.e., when physicians fail to check for all medicaments a patient is taking and prescribe new ones which interact agonistically or antagonistically (potentiate or decrease the intended therapeutic effect). Significant morbidity and mortality is caused because of this.

The evolution of antibiotic resistance in bacteria sometimes is called iatrogenic as well. Bacteria strains resistant to antibiotics have evolved in response to what some call the overprescription of antibiotic drugs. In some parts of the world, antibiotics are prescribed much more frequently than in others, partly because people have come to expect them to be effective and thus to demand them from doctors. The habit of some patients to discontinue an antibiotic regimen as soon as their symptoms abate -- rather than taking the full course to ensure the bacteria are wiped out -- can also accelerate bacterial evolution towards resistance.

Some have considered many of the more elaborate forms of mental illness to be iatrogenic, recently including dissociative identity disorder and recovered memory syndrome. According to this belief, patients in therapy, who may initially have depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, respond to suggestion by the therapist by filling in the other expected symptoms of these disorders.

A related term is nosocomial, which refers to a illness transferred from patient to patient in the hospital.

A related concept is Institutional Damage but it can occur separately from the medical acts, even in a hospital.

From a sociological point of view there are three types of iatrogenesis, clinical iatrogenesis, social iatrogenesis, and cultural iatrogenesis.

See also

External links

sk:Iatrogénne poškodenie

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