Culture Changes, More Than Penalties, Needed To Cut Hospital Errors: Experts
Experts agree that there won't be a reduction in medical errors until everyone, from nurses to janitors, feels comfortable speaking up when they see a problem in the offing.
The San Diego Union-Tribune:
Sharpening The Focus On Medical Errors
Focus on deepening the hospital’s safety culture tightened in 2012 when a surgical team mistakenly removed patient Paul Kibbett’s healthy left kidney though a cancerous tumor had been discovered on the right. Ultimately both organs were removed, and the patient was forced to rely on dialysis for the rest of his life. In addition to a lawsuit, Sharp [Memorial Hospital in San Diego] received a $100,000 fine and bad publicity .... The incident highlighted a simple truth: Rules and procedures only work if all of the people involved actually follow them every single time. (Sisson, 6/30)
The San Diego Union Tribune:
Do Penalties Reduce Medical Errors?
California has issued $17 million in fines for severe yet preventable medical errors since 2007, publicly shaming 192 hospitals for everything from leaving surgical sponges inside patients to giving fatal doses of medication...But the state’s penalty system, the only one of its kind in the United States, has failed to bring about a significant reduction in such incidents, according to an analysis of state data by The San Diego Union-Tribune. In fact, even after marked improvement between 2014 and last year, the number of errors is still higher than when California’s program began nine years ago. (Sisson, 6/30)