Lack of accountability is one of the key reasons why medical mistakes continue to persist with little signs of abating. That is why a major step in improving patient safety involves sharing information with all medical consumers. In that way, public pressure can be placed properly on those professionals or facilities who pose the clearest risk to those in their care.
Unfortunately, many facilities and medical professionals are reluctant to share honest information about the reliability of the services they provide. St. Louis Today recently discussed the problem of providing more accountability to all medical patients and their families. Those standing in the way of accountability explain that public reporting of medical errors might make certain care workers and institutions feel uncomfortable owning up to mistakes.
However, many patients rights advocate explain the illogic of that argument. One remarked, “I can’t understand that the hospital says they’d take better care of you if they knew they weren’t going to be held accountable if they made a mistake. That doesn’t make sense to me.”
Locally, we have seen some improvement in accountability. Illinois hospital mistakes are now reported in some ways. The Illinois Department of Public Health has worked to provide hospital-wide information on certain preventable medical problems. The spokeswoman for our Department of Public Health shared that “if consumers are informed they will be able to ask questions of their health care providers to receive the best health care possible.”
Of course, much work remains before the system is as robust as it should be. For one thing, Illinois doctors are still fighting the publication of profiles that would allow medical patients the opportunity to learn about their doctor’s medical care history. Those profiles would include information about Illinois medical malpractice lawsuits that result in sanctions against the professional.
Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Levin & Perconti believe that transparency, accountability, and honest communication between professional and patient are vital parts of limiting medial harm. We encourage all patients and their families to remain vigilant about the care that they receive, asking questions to ensure that no oversights occur.
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