We live in a litigious society. When it comes to errors made in medical settings, the stories of the legal battles would blow your mind. The bottom line is no one likes to be lied to and we all know that cover-ups aren’t a hit with most people. The lessons we learned as kids about telling the truth should apply in the medical arena, but risk managers, hospital administrators, and insurance companies are terrified of how it will effect the bottom line.
Yesterday I mentioned that studies show that when medical personnel make an error when the provider told the patient about the error and apologized the number of lawsuits dropped dramatically. The truth is that we all want to be treated with civility. We put our faith in our healthcare providers and if something goes wrong we hope that they could at least show us the courtesy of being honest. In most cases I don’t think the medical personnel would hold back but they are ambushed by those who pull the purse strings and that’s where everything goes haywire.
There are new strategies being tried with incredible results. This past Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal had an article titled, “Hospitals Own Up to Errors”. One example of the changes being made were shared as follows, “The University of Illinois center set up a specialized service in 2004 to help staff communicate with patients and families after harm occurs. Since 2006, the center has had a policy of fully disclosing medical errors, and swiftly offering a financial settlement. And patient-family members sit alongside staff on a board charged with overseeing plans to prevent errors.” That’s a fresh take on this whole situation. There is transparency and as patients it’s what we want and deserve. When our emotions make our decisions things become contentious and that doesn’t reverse the harm that has occurred or change how medical facilities interact with patients.
I feel it’s our right to always ask our providers for the truth. If they are truly the professionals they purport to be it shouldn’t be an issue. If they are more concerned with their reputation and their insurance carrier than we have bigger fish to fry.