Little Rock, AR (Law Firm Newswire)May 30, 2013 — Patients that experience hospital errors find resolution of their issues difficult. Finally, a doctor has been on the same side of the fence.
“It’s not often you hear about a doctor being on the receiving end of a hospital error, but it seems that one doctor did find himself in that revolving door, and didn’t like it,” explained Michael Smith, an Arkansas injury lawyer and Arkansas accident lawyer, practicing personal injury law in Arkansas. The physician in question had an eye-opening experience when involved, in a peripheral manner, with his mother’s care.
The emergency physician, whose mother was being treated for cancer, wanted the hospital to start standard drug treatment for her, as she had a systemic infection due to a compromised immune system. The more he pushed, the more delays there seemed to be from his mother’s care team. He found himself in a situation where the nursing staff and doctors seemed to be in the dark about an impending disaster involving his mom. She subsequently died and he wanted an explanation from someone; hospital administrators, team leaders, someone, anyone, to tell him what went wrong and how, and how they would fix things.
The family opted not to sue, as it did not feel like the right thing to do. However, the doctor kept calling for an explanation. Finally, he got an admission from an administrator that there had been an error, but the dialogue was so circuitous and low key, it ultimately became a much watered down, sanitized version of events that led to his mother’s demise. Many of the issues and concerns the doctor had were never addressed.
“He discovered that since it was not his home turf, his input fell on deaf ears. It was an epiphany of sorts, as he realized that he went through what many other families must go through when faced with a similar situation; being shut out while the medical establishment steam rolls its way to a conclusion of one sort or another,” Smith added.
The overall experience was a shock to the doctor and his family, as his workplace, in another state, espouses transparency; the wave of the future, where hospital errors and medical mistakes are owned up to and discussed, in order to deal with them and prevent something similar happening in the future, where patient advocacy systems are becoming more common than not.
The physician’s experiences rolled him back to a place he found distressing; assuming the role of a son of a very ill patient who could not get answers to questions, or get someone to monitor his mother more carefully. “Family members go through this type of thing regularly when they have loved ones in the hospital,” said Smith. “They run into roadblocks, indifference, and stonewalling, which is detrimental to the treatment of the patient, because every patient and their family has a role to play in the care process. In fact, the family can be a bellwether for changes in a patient that can be passed along to medical personnel.”
It is a telling story that someone with medical training is sidelined and shut out when trying to care for a family member. Perhaps the good doctor may become an advocate for patients and their families, seeking answers to hospital errors when things may go wrong.
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