Cleveland, OH (Law Firm Newswire) March 4, 2013 – Many medical mistakes are not reported. Medical health professionals fear the repercussions.
“If you asked yourself if you made a mistake that harmed someone, and you were a doctor, would you admit to making the mistake? While some may answer yes, there are a good number of other medical professionals out there that would say no; they would rather cover it up and hope for the best. They do not want their reputations torn to shreds in court. This is rather backward thinking, because if they are caught hiding their mistake, their reputations take an even worse beating,” suggested Christopher Mellino, a Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer.
Medical malpractice stalks just about every medical health facility across the nation, and it does not just affect the doctor and patient. It affects the health care system as a whole, by racking up approximately $17.29 billion in wasteful spending. If that is the fallout from reported errors, one would likely have a hard time getting their head around what adding the unreported errors to the mix would cost.
Unreported mistakes are left that way because medical professionals fear litigation, retribution (losing their jobs) and the significant financial consequences, if found liable for committing medical malpractice. Unreported mistakes are also unreported for other reasons, such as no clear method in place to do so, being discouraged to report them and not understanding why they need to confess their mistakes.
“What many don’t realize is if they did report errors and shared them, it could result in data swapping and the creation of new methods to avoid common errors. In short, the creation of a system that could save lives and drive down the costs of running the health care system. If medicine is about effective interventions, then sharing the mistakes is a huge part of effective medicine,” Mellino added.
Within the last couple of years, a number of larger American hospitals have begun to see that it makes more sense to mea culpa than duck and run for the hills. Patient safety is gradually becoming more of a focal point and there are a few leaders of the pack in health care that have launched patient apology programs in health care facilities, with good results. Many people would rather hear an apology from their doctor, than a song and dance about idiopathic manifestations of injury.
“In short, for the health care system in the U.S. to achieve its actual potential, quality care, with and without mistakes, everything needs to be tracked and analyzed for answers to make the system even better. With the amount of technology in place these days, anything can be done to make hospitals safer. A safer hospital and a rigorous safety protocol can save lives. While that is not a simple concept, it is a place to begin,” suggested Mellino.
Some of the innovations that could be used to great effect may include the use of e-health records with a component allowing medical error data input. Health care systems must begin to adapt to mobile technology for data collection and reporting and the implementation of a better system to report errors. It is a brave new world out there. It is time the health care system became a part of it.
Mellino Robenalt LLC
200 Public Sq., Suite 2900
Cleveland, Ohio 44114
Call: (216) 241-1901