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My experience is that patients and families who have been harmed by medical errors in the hospital setting have a lot to offer about what needs to be done to make the system safer. Many are especially articulate about the emotional harm their experience caused.
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Contrary to the insinuation that the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario is out to protect doctors and keep the public in the dark, they are, in actual fact, out to protect the interests of the public first and foremost. Is the general public, with their lack of medical training and limited knowledge of how the health profession works, really in a position to sift through and understand medical information better than the trained doctors and highly-skilled and trained health professionals who have been appointed to investigate these matters?
Want to know another proven and really cheap method of improving patient safety? Wash your hands. So serious is the failure of doctors, nurses and other clinicians to follow this simple age-old motherly dictum, that the Ontario government requires hospitals to regularly report their level of pre-patient and post-patient hand hygiene compliance.
There is a medical emergency rolling across the land and into its hospital rooms. It is the epidemic of hospital medical errors that is literally killing thousands of patients each year. There are numerous reasons that have been put forth as to why there continue to be so many medical errors. Perhaps what is required is not a no-fault culture, but one where it actually becomes unlawful not to report medical errors.
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