Some doctors, nurses and hospitals are not as forthcoming as they should be when they suspect that a medical mistake has been made — and it is often up to the patients and their families to discover these errors. Breaking through the cone of silence that surrounds many instances of malpractice is often difficult for patients who are unfamiliar with the proper protocol preceding treatment or surgery. If you suspect malpractice, you should obtain a second opinion from a reputable physician who has experience in a similar field of practice. A St. Louis medical malpractice attorney can also be an essential resource if you need help with relief and recovery after a surgical error, prescription error or another related injury.
In 1999, a report published by the Institute of Medicine revealed that somewhere between 44,000 to 98,000 people die in hospitals each year because of preventable medical errors. In 2005, the passage of Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act addressed the concern that healthcare “providers are often reluctant to participate in quality review activities for fear of liability, professional sanctions, or injury to their reputations.” The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is now charged with recording incidents of near misses, adverse events and other dangerous conditions that may increase deaths in unsafe hospitals.
The resulting Patient Safety Initiative encourages hospitals to participate in activities that combat medical errors and improve patient safety. The program encourages improvements such as:
It is still unclear whether this initiative will lead to a significant increase in medical malpractice reporting throughout the United States. A St. Louis medical malpractice attorney can help you take the appropriate next steps after a medical accident and injury.
For more information about the appropriate response to medical mistakes, schedule a free initial consultation with a lawyer at the Guirl Law Firm, LLC.