According to a recent survey, more than one-fifth of patients have experienced a medical error at some point during their care. Although some of those errors may have been minor, more than 73 percent of people who experienced errors said that there was a lasting impact on their health, finances, emotional state, or their family relationships. Even so, only 42 percent said that the health care facility involved took responsibility and apologized. In fact, 24 percent said the facility denied responsibility, and more than 20 percent said that there was an attempt by the facility to hide records or cover up the mistake.
How Do So Many Errors Occur?
The inclination to hide mistakes or deny responsibility may occur due to the fact that rather than being the fault of just one individual, these are systemic failures. On average, victims named several circumstances they believed may have led to the event.
Insufficient attention to detail. A lack of focus on the details was cited as a reason for error by 69 percent of respondents.
Overwrought providers. Half of respondents said that overworked, stressed, or tired health care providers were the cause.
Lack of communication. Communication between members of the care team was inadequate, according to 47 percent of victims.
Electronic health records. According to 25 percent of respondents, spending too much time with electronic records created a higher rate of error.
Outdated or inaccurate data. Old or wrong information accounted for 12 percent of errors.
Lack of patient access. According to 22 percent of those effected, not having access to their own records may have been the cause of an error, indicating a need for increased involvement by patients in their own care.
Providers don’t listen. Of those affected, 59 percent believed they were not heard by their care providers.
Patient/provider interaction. One third of victims said their provider did not properly discuss goals or treatment options.
Lack of leadership. This was a concern among 32 percent of patients.
Even though most patients felt they could point to the cause of an error, less than half reported mistakes, and few contacted the proper authorities. Many of those who did not report such an experience were afraid to do so, often because there was no way to report an error anonymously. They feared that they would get someone into trouble, or that their doctor would seek retribution by refusing to see them again.
By reporting a medical mistake or medical malpractice, you can help to promote a culture of safety, accountability among health care providers, and improvement in the health care system. Our experienced medical mistake lawyers in New Jersey can help you to obtain the compensation you need and deserve. Please call Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP at 732-777-0100 or contact us online today for more information or for a free consultation on your case. Our offices are conveniently located in Edison, Red Bank, and Toms River, and we represent clients throughout the state of New Jersey.