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Malpractice What Can Be Done About Errors

In this article we're going to discuss what can be done about errors to hopefully avoid malpractice suits that are taking over the United States at an alarming rate.With all the malpractice suits filed in the Unites States each year, one has to wonder if the doctors involved are getting a proper education. Certainly you didn't have the number of malpractice lawsuits even as recently as the 80s as there are today in the start of the 21st century. So obviously since more errors are being committed something needs to be done to minimize them, if possible. The question, is what?.

First off, it needs to be pointed out that in the course of treatment for a patient, many errors can be committed. The commitment of the error is not the problem. The problem is not finding the error in time. This error detection can occur any time between the beginning and end of the patient's entire course of treatment or more specifically, between the beginning an end of a particular procedure. This error detection can be of the error's mode, expression, or its consequence.

To give a specific example, a nurse can reach for a 2 gram Lidocaine syringe and change the motion towards its correct target, the 100 mg syringe. The nurse realizes that she was going for the wrong syringe but immediately makes the correction. This may be a conscious correction or not.

As humans we do so many things from habit, especially when we do them over and over for a length of time. Little research has been done into the psychology of how people react to their realizing they are about to make a mistake. Some people show a pronounced physical reaction, such as a jolt of the body where they will noticeably reach for a different instrument and then there are people who do this totally in their minds where nobody can even tell they were about to commit an error.Probability tells us that these type of errors are very common and in almost all cases are corrected.

Statistics show that for every one error corrected by a physical action after the error occurred, there are 10 instances where the error was detected before any wrong action was taken. The point is, errors are more common than we realize but don't get reported because they are caught early enough.In order to correct these errors that don't get caugh, experts suggest that there should be specific training in the use of tactics which will lead to improvement in error self detection. In other words, instead of 1 out of every 11 errors not being detected until after the error is made, we get to the point of 1 out of every 100 errors. This will greatly reduce the number of malpractice lawsuits.

In order to do this, system analysis must be done on surgical and other procedures. Areas must be identified where errors are most likely to occur. The problem with doing such studies is that this will ultimately raise the cost of healthcare and if it doesn't decrease the number of malpractice lawsuits then medical costs will be even worse than they are today.Others suggest that the malpractice laws themselves need to be changed. Errors occur.

Medicine is not an exact science and people need to understand that. Making it more difficult to file a malpractice lawsuit might help matters on both ends. Doctors and nurses will be more relaxed and patients may have a little more trust in the medical profession because of this.

Michael Russell
Your Independent guide to Malpractice

By: Michael Russell

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