What causes medical professionals in Chicago and throughout the country to make medical errors that harm or kill thousands of patients every year?
As our medical malpractice law blog has mentioned in other posts, there are many factors that may contribute to serious or fatal medical errors here in Illinois and across the country. Inexperienced doctors or nurses may make mistakes when treating patients. Fatigue or inadequate staffing may contribute to medication errors, nursing home negligence, or surgical errors. Carelessness and negligence may certainly jeopardize patient safety.
And according to surveys that have been conducted over the years, conflict among medical professionals may also put patients at risk of being harmed by medical errors.
According to one survey, 77 percent of respondents reported witnessing disruptive behavior in the workplace among doctors, and 65 percent of respondents reported witnessing disruptive behavior among nurses. The respondents were all health care workers. More than 4,500 health care workers responded to the survey. According to the survey, about two-thirds of the reported disruptive behaviors had led to medical errors. Some errors resulted in patient deaths.
In 2009, the Joint Commission created new standards for hospitals to follow in order to minimize and effectively resolve conflict in the workplace among doctors, surgeons, nurses and other professionals who are responsible for treating patients. Conflicts can be distracting while on the job, and this type of distraction may put patients in danger.
Since the Joint Commission created new standards for minimizing disruptive behavior among medical professionals, more hospitals and medical facilities have been focusing on addressing this patient safety issue.
For example, some facilities now require physicians who are disruptive to participate in intervention programs that help physicians work through their problems before returning to work. Other programs are less severe but still provide physicians with counseling and other resources to address their behavior problems in the workplace.
Although conflicts are bound to arise in the workplace, doctors and other medical professionals must always remember that when they are treating patients, they must focus on providing their patients with quality care in order to avoid making dangerous or fatal mistakes.
Source: USA Today, “When doctors are bullies, patient safety may suffer,” Kim Painter, April 27, 2013