Ward Smith PLLC Articles Hospitals Apologize for Critical Errors

Hospitals Apologize for Critical Errors

By Ward Smith  Feb. 19, 2011 12:15p

Why Some Facilities Are Adopting Greater Transparency

During a routine MRI exam, 18-month old Kaelyn Sosa suffered permanent damage when her breathing tube came loose, disrupting the flow of oxygen to her brain. Just as in many similar tragic cases, the facility settled with the family out of court.

Administrators at Baptist Children's Hospital in Miami decided to do even better, however. They set in motion several sweeping changes to try and ensure their staff learned from the error, including overhauling their emergency response protocols. They also placed Sosa's mother Sandy on the hospitals quality-and-patient-safety committee. She now works as community liaison to help improve the staff's safety record. The most important thing, Sandy told reporters, is that something good can result from what happened to her daughter.

New Policies Could Improve Safety and Reduce Litigation

Miami Baptist is only one of a growing number of medical centers around the country adopting a new policy of openness. A recent report from the Institute of Medicine claims as many as 98,000 deaths a year result from medical errors. The traditional stance of medical personnel in response to this issue has generally been one of silence. Now, with the recent shift towards assuming responsibility for their errors and taking measures to correct them, hospital administrators say they hope they can improve their safety record.

Some experts warn, however, that by increasing transparency, they are opening themselves to more litigation and legal penalties. Yet the numbers seem to suggest otherwise. In 2004, the medical center at the University of Illinois created a special program training staff to better communicate with victims of accidents and their families. They have also adopted a policy of quickly settling with families when these accidents occur, accepting full responsibility. Reports indicate that since these changes, the number of lawsuits filed against them has decreased by 40 percent, though the total volume of patients and procedures has been increasing. Openness led to less, not more, litigation.

Let a Personal Injury Lawyer Help You

While hospitals are seeking to improve the situation, the reality is that an alarming number of accidents happen every day. If you or a loved one is injured as a result of medical malpractice, you deserve to be remunerated for the pain you have suffered. A Seattle personal injury lawyerat Ward Smith, PLLC knows how difficult this process can be, and is ready to help you every step of the way.

Contact a personal injury lawyer in Seattle to discuss your options right away!

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