Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Hospital Screw-ups Now 3rd Leading Cause of Death In US, "Why Docs Don't Snitch When Colleagues Make Mistakes"

fiercehealthcare has;
Silent Treatment: Why Docs Don't Snitch When Colleagues Make Mistakes
November 11, 2013 | By 

A new report in the New England Journal of Medicine may shed light on some of the reasons hospital medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the nation: Doctors won't tell patients when other clinicians make medical mistakes.

Although there is guidance on how a physician who commits the error should disclose the information to the patient and family members, there are no such guidelines for doctors who discover a colleague's mistake.

Lack of first-hand knowledge about the case, litigation concerns and fear of how a colleague--especially someone who has a higher position or seniority--reacts, are just some physician barriers, according to the report, "Talking with Patients about Other Clinicians' Errors."

Lead researcher Thomas H. Gallagher, M.D., an internist and professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine, told ProPublica that physicians experience a range of emotions when they discover a colleague's error. They may wonder whether they should keep the information to themselves or tell someone, think about what they would want a colleague to do if the situation was reversed or worry about the repercussions if they disclose the error. The result, he said in the article, is leniency toward mistakes.

The NEJM report suggests that despite physicians' worry they may damage their relationship with colleagues, they must remember the patient has a right to know and it's their ethical responsibility to share the information.

"When faced with a potential error involving another health care worker, our conceptions of professionalism should lead us to turn toward, rather than away from, involved colleagues," the researchers concluded. "Although making the effort to understand what happened and ensure appropriate communication with the patient may challenge traditional norms of collegial behavior and involve additional demands on clinicians' time, transparent disclosure of errors is a shared professional responsibility."

Meanwhile, a separate study published in Circulation suggests that there is some truth to the "July effect"--the higher likelihood of patient death when medical students leave the classroom and enter patients' rooms in teaching hospitals.

Researchers at Harvard Medical School, Stanford University Hospitals, University of Southern California and the RAND Corporation, found that in July, the risk of death for high-risk patients who came to teaching hospitals after suffering heart attacks rose from 20 percent to 25 percent. In addition, the difference between patient outcomes in May and July is greatest within organizations that have the highest percentage of trainees.
"The good news for patients is that in most cases, it's very difficult for a physician to make a mistake that results in a patient's death, lead author Anupam Jena, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of healthcare policy and medicine at Harvard Medical School and an assistant physician and professor in the department of medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, said in a the study announcement. "But for severely ill patients, health can be very tenuous. A small error or a very slight delay in care is potentially devastating." 

For more:
- read the 
NEJM report
- here's the 
ProPublica piece
- check out the 
Circulation study abstract
- read the study 

Related Articles:
Hospital medical errors now the third leading cause of death in the U.S.
3 caveats to physician apology laws
Should hospitals punish docs for medical errors?
Thousands of docs continue to practice despite misconduct, danger
How to reduce the malpractice threat of ACOs
Hospitals have had it with misbehaving docs
Diagnostic errors: Most costly, common malpractice claim

Thank You Fierce Healthcare and Ms McDonald.

see also;

U.S.C. 18C4 Misprision of Felony

and of related interest;

Arizona Medical Board Nabs Another Drunk Doctor

 Study: 15% Of Surgeons Abuse Alcohol

and the Psych Connection;


If they're drunk - Two Drinks - just once, . . . EVER, by their own Psychiatric Co-Workers Diagnostic Frippery, they're Incurably, Legally, Insane.

pic cred to phoenixnewtimes

No comments: