Written By: James Lewis, Esq.
Shapiro, Lewis & Appleton
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Many people are unaware of the fact that medical mistakes cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people every year. In fact, every single week, enough people die from preventable medical errs to fill four jumbo jets, according to the Wall Street Journal. To make matters worse, the medical community fails to learn from these preventable mistakes since there is no uniform reporting system. Therefore, many of these mistakes go largely unnoticed, save for the truly abhorrent surgical errors (e.g., a sponge left inside a patient’s body).
As a result of the underwhelming reporting, the same preventable surgical errors and medical mistakes are repeated. This also means that patients basically have no clue about which hospitals have good or bad safety records in relation to other hospitals in the area.
Serious reforms need to be made which emphasize transparency and accountability. For example, there should be an online safety record database in which potential patients can check to see the error rate of hospitals in their area before visiting or taking a loved one to the hospital. The Wall Street Journal article has other possible ideas for reforms such as cameras and an open note system. A spotlight needs to be placed on this important public health and safety issue. Far too many people are dying or suffering life-altering injuries due to these preventable mistakes.