Hospitals Hiding Errors? Say it ain’t so. . .

  • Posted on: Feb 11 2012
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Are Hospitals Purposefully Hiding Errors?

The Latest Hammer Against Medicine in the US Raises Many Red Flags.

But I don’t think that it is a purposeful hiding of errors. No doubt there is deliberate deception, perhaps still out of fear of consequences, but the study itself seems to argue against that as a major cause.

Regardless, there are a lot of concerns raised by this study. While I haven’t had the opportunity to review the entire text at this point, it certainly raises some questions based on the initial press coverage.

  • What role is being played by the decreased reimbursement to hospitals in the failure to report?
    • It certainly stands to reason that one possibility for decreased reporting is that hospitals are underfunded and, therefore, understaffed with the resulting employee being overworked.
    • I have seen this in hospitals across the country repeatedly suffering from this. It seems that that study will suggest that employees are failing to recognize the importance of reporting. One reason may be that they are overburdened with other duties to have the time to report what might seem to be a rather small problem.
  • If these incidents aren’t being reported, it’s not because they’re being hidden.
    • Otherwise, physician reviewers would not have been able to identify the incident in the chart–it must be recorded.
    • Is it possible that the mechanism to get that information out of the chart and into the necessary database is unclear, overly burdensome, and or overly complicated?
Nevertheless, we as patients have a responsibility to protect ourselves. One method of doing so is to ensure that we are aware of the hospitals that have the better and worse rankings. One source from the government is this link to hospital rankings.
However, please be reminded that it is your physician you should trust. While some hospitals may not favor comparably to others in certain categories, most physicians would only recommend hospitals to which they’d send their own family members.
That’s how I treat patients. That’s how I want my doctor to treat me. You should ask yours if you are concerned.

–Richard D. Thrasher III, MD

As a post script, it is quite clear that these types of incidents have a profound and sometimes tragic effect on the people that caused them as you can see on this devastating story about a nurse who inadvertently hurt a child


Posted in: General Medical

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