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Researchers investigating the toll of medical malpractice

The findings and recommendations of a May 2016 study on medical errors may lead to safer clinical settings for Arizona patients. The British Medical Journal reports that about 250,000 deaths in the U.S. each year are due to medical mistakes, which is a term that encompasses hospital negligence, prescription drug error, doctor error and generally injuries that occur when patients are under the care of medical personnel. High-profile settlements, such as that received by the family of Joan Rivers, and peer-reviewed investigations have uncovered systemic problems and potential solutions.

Certain systemic problems were identified in the hospital negligence study. Among the most prevalent was the failure of various personnel to coordinate in provision of care for patients. A lack of cross-checking was also noted, which speaks to poor systems of accountability. Broadly speaking, communication was the central area of concern.

The recommendations point to the need for better communication and accountability among personnel. Many cases of medical malpractice could be avoided, according to researchers, by engaging those who must follow patient safety protocols in the process of creating those protocols. Fully bringing patients into the creation of treatment plans was also seen as a remedy.

Arizona patients in the future may enjoy safer provision of medical care, but those who are harmed by a doctor's error often see their conditions worsen, requiring additional and expensive care and treatment. Not all mistakes by a physician or a facility constitute malpractice, however, and an attorney for a plaintiff will review hospital records and obtain the opinions of experts in order to determine whether there was a failure to exhibit the requisite standard of care.

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