Many times, New York hospitals are places where things are kept quiet and communication between medical staff and patients is limited to safe topics such as their medical condition or improvement. Few will actually admit to committing medical errors, acknowledging that staff, after all, is only human and everyone is prone to making mistakes. A hospital error can be made at any time with a mistake in calculating medication, a delay in a patient's care or an accident that occurs during a surgical procedure.
However, one hospital is seeking to improve the care their patients receive by taking a transparency approach. The hospital publishes a monthly newsletter which shares cases where a patient may have received incorrect treatment or the process in hospital administration was flawed. The attitude that the hospital has is that if staff feel like they can openly talk about mistakes they've made, it may lead to changes that benefit patients.
One example was a cancer patient whose transfer to a facility was delayed for a number of reasons. The hospital admitted that there were problems and used the case to improve communications between the hospital and the facility. Another improvement they made was to reduce the waiting time that patients experience in the emergency department.
While the approach this particular hospital has taken is highly unusual, it seems to be helpful in preventing doctor errors from occurring. Medical errors can cause additional pain for patients and delay much needed medical care. When someone has been the victim of medical neglect or negligence, they may want to think about exploring their legal options to hold staff accountable.
Source: The Boston Globe, "Brigham and Women's airing medical mistakes," Liz Kowalczyk, April 9, 2013