At a recent panel discussion at New York Law School, a problem concerning medical care was discussed. As the system exists now, it was said, doctors are not using a simple means of improving medical care. They are not learning from the mistakes of other doctors. The medical industry has been reluctant to shine a light on the errors of its members, preferring instead to handle them as quietly as possible. Members of the law school panel commented that much detailed information about medical errors is revealed and collected during medical malpractice trials, but the information does not leave the Courtroom and is never made into a beneficial resource.
It was proposed that information that becomes public at trial be purged of identifying or confidential facts and entered into a database for constructive reference. The database could be used to instruct doctors and other medical personnel on how to identify perilous situations to avoid errors, thus saving patients from possible harm and doctors from complaints of malpractice.
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The idea certainly seems to have validity and potential. If patients are being needlessly injured because doctors or medical staffs do not have insight into how and why mistakes of their colleagues occur, that is a terribly flawed manner of practicing medicine which ought to be corrected by any possible means immediately. The likelihood that this idea will face opposition on its path to fruition will obviously be quite high, but its goals are noble and it is certainly worth exploring.
Source: Thomson Reuters News & Insight, “Tapping medical malpractice cases for safety lessons,” Terry Baynes, Apr. 11, 2013
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