Disclosing Medical Error – The Right Thing To Do

To The Editor
Regarding: The Value of Disclosing Medical Error

I write this in response to an article* posted by ALICIA GALLEGOS, of American Medical News, posted June 1, 2011. I heartily support the Lockton Report analyzing the findings of Aug. 17, 2010, issue of Annals of Internal Medicine. Such disclosures are not only good business but are also required.

American Medical Association’s Code of Medical Ethics says physicians are ethically obligated to disclose what happened “when a patient suffers significant medical complications that may have resulted from a physician’s error.”

The attempt to cover up medical errors results in those involved eventually forgetting the fact that errors occurred. Instead of correcting the practices leading to harm all energy is expended in making it seem that nothing untoward occurred.

I am a trial attorney and have represented victims of malpractice for 34 years. I think it absurd that I have to speak for the victims because their doctors, nurses, etc. won’t.

Sincerely,

Jerry I. Meyers
Pittsburgh, Pa

*this article is no longer available at its original source (http://www.amednews.com/article/20110601/profession/306019996/8/)

All articles in this blog are the collaborative effort of attorneys Jerry Meyers, Brendan Lupetin, and Gregory Unatin.

5 thoughts on “Disclosing Medical Error – The Right Thing To Do

  1. Well i got rushed in to somerset medical center emergency room for abdominal pain and they said there was nothings wrong with me and i went to st petters hospital for same abdominal pain and they said oh you have gole stones and you need your golbladder removed. Then before i had to go for surgery i got rushed back to somerset medical center they said there is nothign wrong so couple days later i went for surgery they said they got my golebladder out in time becasue it was inflammed very bad and they took it out in time. I got my report for xray and ct scans from somerset medical center and it says i have a cyst on my left artery and they never told me i had that and it could be causeing bodly injury inside me. ALso again i got rushed to somerset medical center again for adbominal pains and they said oh there is nothing wrong its just gas so couple days i had pain again so i went to st petters hospital and they said i have a hernia and they said you need to see a seurgent for surgery. I was just again recently rushed to the hospital somerset medical center for my inflammed hernia and they said the abdominal pain is unknown when i know its a hernia and i need help to pursue this further. Can you help me.

  2. February 2011, my father unexpectedly had “routine” neck surgery. Less than 24 hours after surgery my father was “found” unresponsive in his room;paritally naked. His nace brace was on, front piece appeared to be torn off! Once the nurses were notified medical records reflect that it took the nurses 5 min to respond, then another 5 min went by and a code blue was called. Took them 18 min to get a pulse. He ended up being rushed to ICU, machines doing a 100% of the breathing for him. When my brother & I saw our father, his neck was severely bruised and very swollen. The hopital tried to cover it up by placing a hand towel over his neck. I was told it was to help with all the tubes??? i don’t understand why it took someone to find him? A 69 yr old man who is a diabetic, has had kidney problems, and issues with his heart , less then 24 hours after surgery and not be connected to a heart monitor. “It wasn’t deemed necessary” I was told. No alarms went off and no one knows how long he was down. Could have been anywhere from 10 – 30 min. Now there are saying it was due to a clot. I can only imagine what my father was going through in that hospital room fighting for his life! It is clear that his neck began to swell as a result of his surgery and the neck brace was basically sufficating him! Why else would his neck be bruised so bad, and the front piece of the collar torn off? My father was fighting for his life to breathe! The latest excuse I have been given,”There are no guarantees that the nurses would have been able to respond to your father.” I was appauled, so it is okay that a man in a HOSPITAL, is down the hall fighting for his life, trying to remove a neck brace so he can breathe; and no one to help him! ” we couldn’t have helped him anyway” My father lost his life. Now imagine if this was your father? My brother and I have already sent the hosptial our “Letter of Intent” Now we need a great lawyer!

  3. Lisa,I read your blog and was overwhelmed with compassion.
    I am SO SORRY for your loss.
    I too have lost but my comfort is knowing I will see them again.
    My bunch are believers in Jesus. I hope you can find comfort there as well. Sincerely Jerry B.

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