Only doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers can reduce the likelihood of medical malpractice. They can do this by dedicating themselves to patient safety.
Dramatic Increases in Patient Safety
A New York obstetrics practice reduced its medical malpractice payouts by 99% because it introduced a number of safety initiatives that reduced the number of “sentinel events,” such as serious patient injury or death of a patient, from five to zero. The reforms introduced were relatively straightforward, and included:
- Moving to electronic records for patienttracking
- Hiring a full-time safety nurse
- Hiring an on-call laborist – a doctor dedicated to assisting births at off hours
- Hiring three physician assistants
- Standardizing protocols for certain medications and delivery techniques
- Increased documentation for certain delivery methods
By instituting these reforms, the practice improved communication between team members to reduce communication errors. They also made sure that doctors and nurses fully understood safety procedures and protocols. And by hiring a new doctor and physician assistants, they reduced the need for doctors to work late or be called in during their off hours, which in turn reduced the chances they would be practicing while tired.
According to the lead doctor at the practice, Dr. Amos Grunebaum, “Any hospital could do it – it’s not about money, it’s about changing the culture to make it safer to deliver babies.”
Why Don’t Hospitals Do It?
If it’s that easy to reduce obstetrical errors and medical malpractice, why don’t they? Contrary to Dr. Grunebaum’s assertion, it is often about the money. Although it is possible for doctors to reduce medical errors and medical malpractice, they often may not because these reforms are expensive.
The medical industry has, instead, invested in another strategy to reduce malpractice payments: lobbying. By pushing tort reform from coast to coast, they hope to reduce payouts without increasing patient safety.
We are dedicated to patient safety and believe the best way to ensure it is to hold doctors responsible for their errors. If you’ve been hurt by a doctor’s mistake, please contact Andres & Berger in New Jersey today for a free initial consultation.