Mistakes happen and when they happen in a hospital setting patients get injured and sometimes die. More than 400,000 Americans die annually in part because of avoidable medical errors, according to a 2013 estimate published in the Journal of Patient Safety. In 2008, the most recent year studied, medical errors cost the country $19.5 billion, most of which was spent on extra care and medication required by the medical mistake, according to another report.
I believe hospitals should be required to tell the patient when that surgeon cut the wrong vein or injures the bladder when he was operating on bowel or cut the common bile duct, instead of the cystic duct, when removing a gall bladder. They should tell the family that their father went into a coma due to a nurse giving the wrong medication, not as a result of unavoidable stroke. The family should know their loved one suffered from bleeding in the brain and died as a result of a nurse administering too much Coumadin. Patients deserve to be told the truth!
My thinking on this issue may be in the minority but the concept is gaining strength from some powerful interests. Some hospitals have rules requiring a patient be told if something happened that shouldn’t have and, to the best of the institution’s knowledge, why. I recall reading about several Veterans Administration Hospitals that routinely made these types of disclosures, and now the pressure on other hospitals has increased. A number of professional and safety groups are urging more hospitals to adopt disclosure rules. Supporters include the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Association, The Leapfrog Group, the National Quality Forum and the Joint Commission, which accredits many health-care organizations. The federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is also on board.
The hospitals in Western Virginia should do what is right and join the movement to admit when preventable mistakes injure or kill patients. Wonder if the following hospitals are listening (or reading)?
Alleghany Regional Hospital, Bath Community Hospital, Bedford Memorial Hospital, Buchanan General Hospital, Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital, Carilion Giles Memorial Hospital, Carilion New River Valley Medical Center, Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, Carilion Stonewall Jackson Hospital, Clinch Valley Medical Center, Dickenson Community Hospital, Danville Regional Medical Center, Lewis-Gale Medical Center, Lonesome Pine Hospital, Martinsville Memorial Hospital, Montgomery Regional Hospital, Mountain View Regional Medical Center, Norton Community Hospital, Pulaski Community Hospital, Rockingham Memorial Hospital, Russell County Medical Center, Smyth County Community Hospital, Tazewell Community Hospital, Twin County Regional Healthcare, Wellmont Johnston Memorial Hospital, Wellmont Lonesome Pine Hospital, and Wythe County Community Hospital