Sadly, medical mistakes continue to be one of the leading causes of death in the United States. There are close to 100,000 preventable deaths a year in America making medical errors the fifth leading cause of death in our country. A culture of shame and a lack of accountability often times prevents full disclosure of medical mistakes to the victims or their families.
In Great Britain steps are being taken at the legislative level to change the secrecy that often involves a medical mistake. Legislation is being introduced which would make it a doctor’s duty to inform the patient or his family if a medical mistake has occured. This duty of candor will be imposed upon all health care providers and their corporate managers.
This is exciting news. Full and honest disclosure has many benefits to both the patient’s family and the medical profession in general. By being honest and responsible those medical providers involved in the mistake can hopefully learn, and teach others, in the hopes of avoiding a tragic circumstance in the future. Furthermore, patients and their families are often looking for an explanation to help make sense out of a senseless tragedy. Candor will hopefully help victims achieve closure in difficult times. The video above is an excellent example of one person’s story about preventable medical errors and the devastation they can cause to both the victim and the victim’s family when nobody takes responsibility for a tragic unforseen and preventable medical mistake.