An article published in the September issue of the New England Journal of Medicine included the results of research done, that claimed that disclosure of medical malpractice that affects individual patients is becoming more common among health care organizations.
However, the disclosure of Large Scale Adverse Events, or LSAEs, does not happen as often. LSAEs can include incompletely sterilized surgical tools, poor lab quality control, or equipment malfunctions.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, or the AHRQ, funded the research into the disclosure practices of hospitals and private practices. AHRQ director Carolyn Clancy, M.D. said of the results:
“It’s clear that health care organizations face a dilemma regarding disclosure of large-scale adverse events whether these events lead to patient harm or not. It’s not always clear how to do that in a way that minimizes risk to the patient and the organization, but this research can help.“
Questions arise when considering the disclosure of medical malpractice on this large scale. Is it ethical to disclose the event in a case where patients were unlikely to be physically harmed, but may be psychologically harmed by the disclosure? Based on the research, the AHRQ decided that events should always be disclosed, and offered the following suggestions for health care organizations to apply:
Develop an Institutional Policy – A health care organization should have a clear set of guidelines for disclosure management.
Plan for Disclosures – Disclosures should be made pro-actively, and patients should be told personally and simultaneously.
Communicate with the Public – Health care organizations should understand that media coverage of a large scale adverse event is unavoidable. To gain the trust of it’s public, that organization should provide a media response that shows it’s committed to honesty and patient safety.
Plan for Patient Follow-Up – Organizations should provide follow-up diagnostic tests to patients effected by the LSAE. All anxiety resulting for the disclosure of LSAE should be addressed as well. Patients who were physically harmed by an LSAE should be compensated.
Medical Malpractice in NJ or PA: Mininno Law Office
Have you been physically harmed by any form of medical malpractice at a health care organization? Did this event go undisclosed? If so, you’ll need to seek the assistance of a medical malpractice attorney. The team at the Mininno Law Office is prepared to work hard to earn you the compensation you deserve.
Contact the Mininno Law Office for a free case evaluation, or call for a free consultation at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.