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Hospital transparency may decrease number of medical errors

In New Mexico and every other state in the country, the adverse effects of hospital medical errors are a major problem. Each year, 400,000 people die as a result of hospital medical errors, making them the third-leading cause of death in the United States. Faced with these overwhelming numbers, many people in the medical community are trying to come up with ways to combat the problem of physician errors.

One doctor who wrote a book that discussed how emotions might affect a physician's medical decisions argues that the medical culture needs to be changed. The author, who works at Bellevue Hospital Center at New York University, claims that a culture of perfection in the medical community has created doctors who are more likely to hide medical mistakes they have made than admit to them.

Some states have created new laws with the aim of encouraging doctors to be honest about their mistakes. In California, efforts toward hospital transparency include weekly harm reports and peer review committees. Other states are allowing doctors to speak with patients and family members about injurious outcomes and offer their condolences without the words being construed as an admission of guilt.

Although some patients survive hospital medical errors, the physician mistakes may result in long-term detriment on a patient's life and finances. However, a patient who has been injured by a hospital error may wish to seek reimbursement for their medical expenses through a malpractice lawsuit. An attorney may be able to help a patient recover these funds by assisting them with the process of filing an action against an allegedly at-fault physician.

Source: Fierce Healthcare, "Physician "culture of perfection" keeps medical errors high", Zack Budryk, September 11, 2014

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