Hospital errors are committed daily.In actual fact,if there is any crime that is committed and goes on unnoticed,untold,unreported,undocumented,it is hospital errors.Indeed,it is an aspect of our healthcare profile that has been neglected to bear its brunt on its victims.
A friend in far away Nigeria phoned me last year September,to narrate the story on why his family could not bury his dad who died of stroke March 2007.According to him,the mortuary of a State Hospital in one of the capital cities was burnt to ashes,and his family could not retrieve the embalmed corpse of the dead man.Stories like this are countless and occur daily in the US and elsewhere.
Victims,like my friend and his family,are left to suffer the effect of the incidents.Hospital officials get away with it.The government has nothing to offer,a big lag in responsibility.
This is hospital error,the common and uncommon health mistakes that has been with us,since the beginning of modern day healthcare.
The fact that communication gap exists among the healthcare practitioners,the patients,and of course the government is revealing in the myriads of health errors that occur daily in our medical hospitals all over the country.And that aspect of communicating hospital errors to the public,which is tagged “reporting hospital errors,”considered by many as an ethical issue,as compared to “reporting,”which is strictly an official paperwork,meant to capsize whoever is found guilty of committing the human error crime,is one reason why discusing this issue is vital to the society.
The Leapfrog Group,which began playing a formidable role in the field of hospital errors since
2000,should be congratulated for charting a cause.However,there is still a long way to go in
programing about 2,500 hospitals scattered all over the country.
The list of 28 Never Events endorsed by the St. Louis Business Health Coalition is heartwarming,a footstep in the right direction.But,there is still a loophole in the list,
because a close analysis shows it may not be able to accommodate the type of incident,as described by my friend in Nigeria.Expanding the scope of work of the group to accommodate all else that is important will help a lot.Perhaps,another round of brainstorming session among the group members will do the trick.
Maryland is facing a dearth of nurses and other medical professionals.The same is true in several other states across the nation.But the task ahead requires a lot of professionals from diverse fields.Human error management,as it should be called now,is a new discipline,a new burden to be shared by all of the stakeholders in the health industry,and of course,the government too.
Viewed appropriately,this new field will require the input of people,with skills in such areas as ethics,statistics,history,engineering,counseling,computer science and applications,
accounting,and law.The formular to use,to generate this skillful workforce should be fashioned-out with reason,with adequate time allotted to obtain commendable results.A good idea is to initiate a program with the tag “Human Errors Human Resources Capitalization Vision 2020.”
What people want is good health.And like bees in swarms heading for the best location to get nectars,human beings will move in numbers to wherever the best health services could be obtained.Whenever the result fell short of expectation,people are generally,morally and emotionally down.In this condition,how do you get the information out of the patient ?
Ethically,how do people view a profesional interviewing the daughter of the woman that died via hospital error?For better reporting,nurses and allied professionals may have to work as health counselors to assist grieved and emotionally-laden people,ahead of geting the required information from them.At least,ahead of Vision 2020.
Naturally,information obtainable from better reporting of hospital errors will be both qualitative and quantitative.With statistics,the quantitative information could be processed by several methods,including regression analysis,chi-square,histogram,pictogram,bar and pie charts,and so on.
As for the qualitative data,to a reasonable extent,they constitute evidences to justify the reality of the events.In view of this,two poles should be established-legal and non-legal evidence.Non-legal evidence should be tagged public non-legal and hospital non-legal,while the legal evidence should be qualified as legal-on-course and legal-moved-to-trash.
When better reporting of hospital errors is in place,the confidence-level of patients in health profesionals would rise.Medical practise would regain its lost glory as the public would henceforth perceive the stakeholders as honest and reliable.Again,it would be easy to sort out,if any at all,those health professionals with motives different from the ethics.
Now that hospital errors is a discipline,making sense of health safety data is only few miles away.Whether at a time of medical emergency ,great stress,or just regular and normal treatments,our health safety data should be put to optimum use.Nothing could be better,to justify the initiative,effort,time,and money already utilized and that to be expended on the future of this project!
Little,J.(2008,July 31)St. Louis Beacon News That Matters.Retrieved August 3,2008 from