Hospitals Save More Lives When They Admit Their Mistakes

By | Nov 7, 2009
Creative Commons License photo credit: a.drian

Suppose you’ve screwed up, badly. Perhaps the blunder was so grave that someone got hurt, or worse. Do you own up to your actions and take responsibility for the consequences, or do you downplay the significance of what happened or worse, deny it entirely?

If your doctor made a mistake, would you want to know? Recognizing their mistake and its cause would help your doctor avoid allowing a similar incident to repeat, wouldn’t it?

That’s exactly what the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal discovered. As it turns out, the hospital experienced a 50 percent drop in incidents over the three years it has had a full disclosure policy in effect.

Does full disclosure expose doctors and hospitals to increased liability? As it turns out, the majority of health care providers report that patients are less likely to sue if their doctor has apologized and admitted mistakes they have made.

The majority of health care professionals remain reluctant to admit when mistakes are made; however, as other facilities follow the Montreal Hospital’s lead with their own full disclosure programs we will start to see attitudes shift toward openness. By removing the fear of job loss for reporting incidents, hospitals will increase care and better serve their communities and patients.

1 Comment so far
  1. […] “real life” the Jewish General Hospital recently came out and said it has been able to improve patient care (upside) by reducing errors (downside) through its new(ish) full disclosure policy. This ties in nicely with Seth’s article because […]

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