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Inadequate Supervision Leads to Medical Errors

The Dallas Morning News reported on a problem in many hospitals that pose a real danger to many patients: lax supervision of new doctors.

Many hospitals are considered “teaching hospitals” where residents (doctors-in-training) treat patients under the care of experienced doctors before going out to practice on their own. New research has added more weight to the well-known problem of medical errors caused by these inexperienced medical professionals. In fact, nearly one in four medical residents admitted to treating complications in patients caused by their own errors.

Those complications were not insignificant, with many leading to serious patient harm, including death. Many factors are involved in creating the errors, but inadequate supervision by advising doctors was cited as playing a key role in the medical mistakes. The report indicated that as much as half of complications created by medical residents were caused directly by improper supervision.

In other words, new doctors are sometimes allowed to use innocent patients as testing bodies while experienced doctors fail to properly ensure the patient’s overall safety. This fact is on display most vividly by the reported “July Effect.” Each year, there is a 10% increase in patient death from medication errors in the month of the July. The reason is because July is the month when new residents begin their first rotations.

Obviously everyone understands the need for new doctors to learn the ropes over time in order to develop the skills necessary to provide proper medical care. However, no patient gives up their right to proper medical treatment merely because they seek care at one hospital over another. To balance these interests, it is imperative that new residents be closely and critically monitored by experienced supervisors. In that way, new doctors can be trained effectively without sacrificing the care of any patient.

However, research consistently confirms that the balance is not being met. Our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at Levin & Perconti have witnessed this problem first-hand. Our lawyers have protected several patients who were harmed in ways that could have been prevented in proper oversight had been provided when new medical residents were making mistakes. Don’t allow yourself to become a similar victim. Contact our offices if your suspect inadequate medical treatment.

Please click here to read more about this troubling medical malpractice situation.