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Health care should take a page out of airline manual, says doc

When pilots make a mistake or there is a problem with procedure, it is the lives of the passengers that are at stake. In order to facilitate as much error-reporting as possible, whether it is due to process or pilot, the airline industry doesn’t focus on punitive measures. Taking away the fear of backlash and retribution allows the industry as a whole to see the bigger problems.

Why are we talking about the airline industry in our Connecticut Medical Malpractice Lawyer Blog? The stakes are the same: when mistakes happen, lives are damaged or even lost. According to Dr. Nina Radcliff, there wouldn’t be as many medical errors if the health care industry could replicate this reporting model.

A recent study published in the Journal Patient Safety found that medical mistakes contribute to anywhere from 210,000 to 440,000 patient deaths per year in the United States. That is approximately 0.6 to 1.3 percent of all hospital admissions per year that result in a fatality. If you ask Dr. Radcliff, a medical malpractice attorney or pretty much anyone for that matter, “the number of deaths from preventable mistakes should be zero.”

Understanding the bigger picture can help address common medical errors and put policies in place that help prevent them from recurring. But how do you understand the big picture without all of the relevant information? Dr. Radcliff believes that a non-punitive system would allow hospitals and policymakers access to all available information.

When negligence gets in the way of medical care, it is the patient that is punished. A civil lawsuit helps provide compensation to the injured, holding those responsible, legally liable for their actions.

Source: Press of Atlantic City, “Medicine must address errors the way aviation does,” Dr. Nina Radcliff, Sept. 25, 2013

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