Hospital mistakes can have deadly consequences for patients. When a hospital fails to uphold safety standards and protect patients from unnecessary risk, they should be held accountable for their negligence. However, a recent investigative report publicized by USA Today reveals investigations into safety concerns at hospitals often do not lead to substantive changes. Hospitals do not face real consequences for their failures and thus are not motivated to make these changes.
The article centered around an investigation involving the MedStar Washington Hospital Center. Patients at the hospital contracted infections when sewage leaked down the walls and onto the floor of an operating room. The hospital claims to have fixed its plumbing, but patient safety advocates are saying this is not enough. They argue the hospital should be subject to internal and external audits to ensure that this type of issue never occurs again.
No Real Consequences for Safety Violations
When a healthcare facility violates safety protocols, state agencies will typically issue a citation that comes with a fine or penalty. For some hospitals, it is easier to pay the fine and make short-term fixes to avoid another citation than to overhaul their systems to make them safer. If the consequences for a safety lapse were more severe, some argue, then hospitals would not want to assume the risk and would be more motivated to do the work of improving patient safety.
The current system is also criticized for its lack of accountability for hospitals found to have safety hazards. The absence of transparency around issues of patient safety prevents those seeking treatment from making informed decisions about where to go. Patients may not know what they are walking into if hospitals fail to provide quality data, and they may unknowingly be putting themselves at risk.
Error Prevention Benefits Hospitals and Patients
The benefits for investing in long-term improvements to hospitals include more than just keeping patients safe. If hospitals took advantage of the error-prevention tools available to them, they could see an average savings of $250,000. While it may take time, effort, and money to fully implement these systems, it would be beneficial for hospitals in the long run to prevent safety lapses before they harm patients.
Patients go to hospitals to get better, and they put their trust in these facilities that are supposed to help them heal. When safety standards are not upheld, patients who are already vulnerable may be subjected to severe illness or injury. Patients who have suffered harm due to hospital negligence should consult an experienced medical malpractice lawyer, who can help them review their legal options.
New Jersey Hospital Mistakes Lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP Advocate for Patients Harmed by Hospital NegligenceThe medical malpractice lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP have the knowledge and experience to handle all types of medical negligence cases, including those involving hospital mistakes. We are dedicated to getting you the compensation you deserve and will thoroughly review the facts of your case to make sure those responsible for your injuries are held accountable. With offices conveniently located in Edison, Toms River, and Red Bank, we help victims and their families throughout New Jersey. Call us today at 732-777-0100 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation with a New Jersey hospital mistakes lawyer.