October 15, 2012

One of the biggest problems with medical mistakes is that the same mistakes are made again and again. It seems that the medical community does not learn from their mistakes, which is unfortunate, especially for those patients who are on the receiving end of the medical errors.

The financial cost of mistakes and preventative measures that try to avoid making medical errors runs into the billions of dollars. A large percentage of medications, tests and procedures are unnecessary; they are run in an attempt to avoid lawsuits for medical malpractice.

The pressure among colleagues to not call out another practitioner’s errors is intense. A doctor or intern could be shunned, given the lowest possible duties or forced out of a job if they complain about another medical professional’s practice or mistakes. Hospitals are also reluctant to publish statistics about their performance, making it harder for patients to make an informed choice.

Some possible solutions to this problem are obvious and actually have helped reduce errors in some cities. Suggestions include:

• Provide an online dashboard that could show potential patients which hospitals and surgeons have the best ratings for successful medical operations and results.

• Cultivating an internal atmosphere that allows any medical professional freedom to speak up when they notice a potential error.

• The use of cameras and video recordings of procedures is another good way to get compliance with best medical practices and to help avoid mistakes.

• Allow patients to review doctor’s notes immediately to catch errors of information.

• No gagging of patient reviews of their doctors.

When mistakes are preventable, it is unconscionable for the medical community to resist any improvement that could benefit their patient population.

Source: Wall Street Journal, “How to Stop Hospitals From Killing Us,” Marty Makary, September 21, 2012

Our law firm represents individual harmed by medical mistakes. For more information, please visit our medical malpractice page.

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