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Practices involving disclosing medical errors

While surgeons and their patients would love for every operation to go perfectly, this is not always the case. When something does go during a procedure, surgeons often have a hard time reporting an error when it was a preventable mistake. Arizona patients might like to know more about how hospitals are addressing disclosure when adverse events happen.

National guidelines suggest that patients and their families receive full disclosure when something goes wrong, and one professor of health policy, management, medicine and surgery said this entails anything that requires more testing, additional action or a change in therapy. The professor teaches at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Johns Hopkins is relatively aggressive about addressing disclosure as the medical school has had a disclosure training video since 2004 and has courses on it.

Johns Hopkins also instituted one of the first policies regarding error disclosure. When reporting an error, health care workers cannot be disciplined or penalized. The idea behind this is that negative treatment does not encourage doctors or other medical staff to come forward about mistakes, which in turn hurts patient care. The exception to this is repeated instances of negligence.

Disclosure about medical errors is important because adverse medical events in and out of surgery happen frequently and are thought to be the cause of more than 250,000 deaths annually. This makes medical mistakes the third biggest cause of death in America.

If a patient is harmed during surgery, one might not immediately know whether medical malpractice occurred or not. Things may go wrong even when surgeons and surgical staff act appropriately, but examples of surgical mistakes that indicate negligence include wrong-site surgery, accidentally cutting a nerve or organ or leaving something inside of a patient. One could need to consult an attorney when considering a malpractice suit.

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Law Offices of Raymond J. Slomski, P.C.

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