Getting to the heart of medical error and malpractice

Posted by ap507 at Jul 03, 2018 02:45 PM |
Securing a meaningful and enduring reduction in medical error requires a cultural transformation, says Dr Simon Bennett
Getting to the heart of medical error and malpractice

Dr Simon Bennett

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In a 2003 Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) survey, “about a quarter [of adults] said that an adverse event had occurred in their own care, or that of a family member.” Half claimed that the adverse event had produced “serious health consequences.” Three-quarters claimed that it had “led to a hospital visit or longer hospital stay.” One in 20 stated that it had resulted in the death of a relative.

A paper published in Health Affairs in 2003 confirmed medical error to be a universal problem with potentially serious consequences. Of those Americans who had experienced a medical error, 63 per cent claimed it had led to a “serious health problem.” For New Zealanders, the figure was 60 per cent. For Australians, 55 per cent. For Britons, 51 per cent. For Canadians, 60 per cent.

While the reasons for malpractice and error are difficult to discern, a 2018 investigation into deaths at a British hospital offers new insight into the link between organizational culture, medical practice and health outcomes. In late June, the Gosport Independent Panel (GIP) published its report into deaths at the National Health Service’s Gosport War Memorial Hospital. The panel found that over a period of 11 years, more than 650 elderly patients had their lives cut short as a consequence of the hospital’s prescribing regime. Specifically, as a consequence of the prescribing of dangerous levels of opioid drugs...

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