Doctors rushing around a hospital

The Pressure is on for Hospitals to Admit Mistakes

Last May, we wrote an article here about recent findings that the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S. was medical mistakes caused by doctors, hospitals, and other medical personnel. 

New information now made public shows that these mistakes, including delays in treatment, cause the death of at least 100,000 patients a year, and possibly as many as a half a million.

At Theodoros & Rooth we have over 110 years combined experience fighting for justice for those that have been harmed or even die as a result of negligence on the part of any medical provider.  These are people we should be able to trust.

Now hospitals, specifically, are in the spotlight.   

A Bloomberg editorial out recently notes that,  “No one knows the exact number, and that points up an underlying problem: Hospitals almost universally resist confessing when a medical error hurts or kills a patient, because admitting fault can expose them to lawsuits. Getting them to overcome this reluctance is essential — to let patients and their families know the truth, and to ensure that hospitals become safer by learning from their mistakes.”

The federal government has made what some would call a feeble attempt to change this.  According to Bloomberg, “It demands that hospitals be accredited to qualify for Medicare funds, and the largest accrediting organization, a private group called the Joint Commission, requires hospitals to tell patients or families when something goes seriously wrong. But this rule isn’t enforced; hospitals don’t lose their accreditation when they conceal errors.”

Now the the Department of Health and Human Services is (HHS) trying something new.  It’s recommending that hospitals quickly admit fault for their errors and offer compensation, by following a detailed set of steps. The University of Michigan Health System, MedStar Health, and other hospitals have adopted the model.  Research has demonstrated why it works: When patients and families are given the truth, they become less likely to sue.

Still, hospitals are hesitant to admit error and are hesitant to offer any type of settlement.  The best programs acknowledge this by requiring hospital staff to recommend that patients or families get legal representation, and by submitting to outside audits to ensure compensation offers are fair.

We strongly agree with the Bloomberg editorial that the “HHS should make its plan more than just a recommendation.  Hospitals should face federal penalties for failing to report errors, including, at a minimum, the loss of some Medicare funding. The come-clean approach can save lives, and hospitals should be not just encouraged, but required, to follow it.”

It is very important to Theodoros & Rooth that the victims of medical negligence receive justice and fair compensation for the injuries, pain, and suffering that they have had to endure.

Call us immediately if you believe that you, a friend, or a loved one has been injured because of medical malpractice.  A consultation is always free of charge.  If we determine you have a case, Theodoros & Rooth will aggressively fight for your rights and be on your side from beginning to end.

*Portions of this article were taken from a recent commentary by the Editorial Board at Bloomberg News.