Patient Safety Commission Urges Hopsitals and Nursing Homes to Notify Patients of Medical Errors

Despite a concerted effort by one state's Patient Safety Commission, hospitals are falling short in providing written notice to patients that a mistake occurred within their facility. Experts say the mere acknowledgement of a mistake and telling patients “I’m sorry” reduces the number of malpractice lawsuits. But facilities are still largely reluctant.

In more than half of all serious medical facility errors in the state, patients failed to receive written notice that acknowledged a serious error occurred, based on a summary of reports submitted to the commission, which is charged with reducing medical errors. The Patient Safety Commission collects reports on serious adverse events in hospitals, nursing homes and ambulatory surgery centers. Common medical errors include falls, infections or retained objects.

The commission's goal is that every hospital give written notice of medical errors all of the time, but as it stands now, just seven of the state's hospitals notified patients in writing for every serious mistake and  fourteen were found to have never notified patients. For more, read the story.

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Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.

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