The Law Firm of Leisawitz Heller

As many Pennsylvanians already know, preventable medical error kills approximately 200,000 individuals in the United States annually. In an attempt to determine how health care professionals react to witnessed error, one study queried 1,700 health care workers.

The results of the survey were published in 2005. The report supplied information on the way in which such health care providers reacted to observed mistakes, poor judgment and inappropriate behavior. Poor clinical judgment was observed by 88 percent of physicians among their colleagues.

After the initial study was published, another was done in 2010 to determine if attempts to remedy this situation were successful. Despite implementation of various ways to eliminate hospital negligence, the second study showed that health care providers were restricted by commonly held beliefs that interfered with freely making mistakes known. In some cases, some providers were afraid of speaking out due to a fear of retribution. In others, a nurse or physician might be viewed as someone who went against another health care provider and labeled a troublemaker.

One way to handle reporting errors, according to some authorities, is to use electronic equipment to monitor mistakes. This would take the onus off the health care workers, since the mistake made by a clinician or within a team would be recorded. If a member spoke up in this instance, they might be perceived as helpful to the team or the clinician.

If an individual is harmed due to doctor negligence, it might be beneficial to speak to an attorney. The attorney may review the case and video or other monitoring reports to see if negligence was involved. If so, the attorney may file a medical malpractice suit to recover damages associated with medical bills and loss of income.

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