Hospital patients in New York County should be able to trust the advice of those that provide care to them and know that they will be safe and appropriately treated. Unfortunately, doctors and hospital staff are human and sometimes errors do occur. Medical errors can span a wide range from product defects to misdiagnosis to improper treatment or application of treatments, such as anesthesia errors.
Many patients are aware of their rights to pursue recourse in such situations yet the average patient may not be aware that taking action, versus remaining silent, may actually help other patients in the future according to one opinion. That opinion comes from a professor of law who recently conducted a survey involving professionals working in healthcare quality improvement and hospital risk or claims management. Her findings indicate that more hospitals today proactively disclose past errors and that there is an increased trend in early settlements of medical malpractice suits, leading to a decreased percentage of extended litigation.
The professor asserts that more and more, hospitals are using data from lawsuits to identify areas where they can improve overall patient safety. The survey was conducted in response to the belief of some that fears of being sued may lead hospitals to not disclose or utilize such data. However, these suits on medical errors provide helpful information t hospitals about birth injury, pharmacy errors and everything in between.
It can be helpful for patients who believe that they have suffered from a medical error to know that speaking up may actually help provide greater patient safety in the future. Victims of medical errors may want to consider meeting with an attorney experienced in this area of the law.
Source: New York Times, “Learning from litigation,” Joanna Schwartz, May 16, 2013