The recent Patient Safety Summit addressed the goal of reducing preventable mistakes with specific actions.
When medical mistakes occur, a patient can often feel as though the medical industry is against them. Hospital administrations are notorious for being reluctant to share information regarding mistakes. Doctors can fear the professional ramifications of admitting a mistake and so do not cooperate when a patient is harmed through medical negligence. Miscommunication and lack of transparency not only further injures patients harmed through medical negligence, it can also increase the risk of future misdiagnoses and infections as well.
The current culture has meant that improvement on patient safety has been hard to come by. The Institute of Medicine, in a landmark 1999 study, found that up to nearly 100,000 patient deaths occurred every year because of medical error. The IOM, in its report, said an attainable goal would be to halve that number in a decade. That goal was not reached: later studies did not find any progress, and some studies, such as one published in the Journal of Patient Safety in 2013, estimated as many as 400,000 patients are killed because of medical error per year.
But patient safety is a priority in the medical community, and the very real threat of medical errors is a concern to many. At the recent Patient Safety Summit in Irvine, California, hospitals, patient advocates and luminaries spoke on how to change the culture of healthcare so that preventable mistakes no longer plague the medical industry. Former President Bill Clinton spoke for the third consecutive year at the event, as did Vice President Joe Biden.
Options for patients already injured through medical error
Those suffering from a serious medical condition face enough obstacles. Preventable mistakes are simply too devastating to victims and victims’ families.
While it is not possible to go back in time to help those who were harmed through medical malpractice, it is possible for victims to get help with medical expenses, lost wages and other damages brought on because of medical negligence. In addition, a medical malpractice lawsuit can bring transparency to the medical industry, helping reform the system to make future errors less likely. As one recent patient safety advocate wrote in Forbes, health care executives have realized that making mistakes actually affects the bottom line; until that happens, there isn’t much incentive for change in a health care industry often designed to make money.
For help with a potential medical malpractice claim and to understand your rights and legal options, contact The Colleran Firm.