According to an article published in the Journal of Patient Safety, preventable health care mistakes kill thousands of people in the United States each week, which makes them the sixth leading cause of fatality in the country. Approximately 25 percent of patients who are hospitalized will experience harm through medical errors.
To a Chicago malpractice lawyer experienced in pursuing justice for those in Illinois who experience medical mistakes, the impact of this problem in suffering, loss of life and financial cost is impossible to ignore. In spite of this fact, the health care industry continues to repeat the same errors without taking measures to improve. Change is both necessary and achievable if providers and institutions are willing to adopt relatively simple approaches to bring down the mortality rate of health care.
Public reporting is one way to compel the health care industry to reform, and a Chicago malpractice lawyer often supports this means of effecting change. If physicians and facilities were compelled to provide reports to the public that included infection rates, readmissions, errors and surgical complications, consumers could make informed decisions on the provider and institution to use.
Recording procedures to prevent or catch errors have been used in some institutions with good effect, causing employees to be more compliant about safety issues such as hand washing. Some doctors have done independent surveys of patients and discovered that not only would most individuals approve of the use of cameras during a procedure, many would also be willing to pay extra to receive a copy of the recording.
Many institutions require patients to sign gag orders that do not allow negative press or lawsuits in the case of malpractice. Policies should be in place that make gag orders illegal so that health care providers can always be held liable for their actions.
- Open notes
When patients have the option to review their providers’ notes after appointments, it has the potential to prevent errors on two fronts. First, patients have the opportunity to add comments if they discover they have forgotten or misspoken any important information that the doctor needs to make a correct diagnosis. If the doctor has written something down that is not accurate, the patient can point out the error before it causes damage.
Preventing doctor and hospital mistakes should be a priority for legislators and agencies in the U.S. A Chicago malpractice lawyer can help to improve accountability by representing victims of health care errors and ensuring that those who are responsible for the problem are held responsible