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Medical malpractice is generally no accident

 

When a doctor makes a medical mistake or some type of hospital negligence occurs it typically is not because there was some element of the treatment that was so esoteric that the doctor failed to understand the problem.

Mistakes in medicine are typically just that, mistakes. But a mistake in medicine is often negligence. They may be caused by a sloppy procedure or an exhausted doctor, who having worked an extended shift, misheard a question from a nurse or misread a note on a chart. Or maybe it was caused by an arrogant doctor, who failed to order the test because she knew better and because a nurse was afraid to contradict her.

 

Medicine still has many individuals who see their profession as the pinnacle of intellectual pursuits and who may believe that every patient is "test" whereby they can demonstrate the value of their class rank from medical school or some other trivial academic honor.

Every patient is a human being and treating ill patients is not a game. They are all entitled to the best possible care from their doctors and should not to be viewed as a demonstration project to puff the ego of a doctor.

Mistakes can happen for innumerable reasons. They may be due to the stubbornness of the staff, the culture of the hospital or cost cutting by hospital administrators. And every time one of them occurs, the entire medical community should learn from that error and take all the steps practicable to ensure that it never happens again.

Commercial aviation in the U.S. has developed an enviable record for safety. It has been done because of painstaking examinations of crashes by governmental investigators and then strict implementation of regulations created in response to the lessons learned.

The enviable record of commercial aviation in this country did not come about because of happenstance or accident. The healthcare industry needs to follow this example and genuinely improve patient safety.

Source: medpagetoday.com, "The Critical Quality Measure: Patient Safety," Caroline Poplin, November 15, 2015

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