Consequences of Fatal Medical Errors for Health Care Providers “Respondents have accepted the notion that the likelihood exists of future errors despite their best efforts to avoid mistakes” (Wolf et al., 201). Ideally perfection is required in the health care profession but mistakes are part of being human and health care professionals are human. Health care professionals unlike the majority of other professions in the world deal with the sanctity of human life. They in essence literally hold decisions within their making that can inhibit life in some way worsening a condition, disabling life, tragically ending a life by means of an err; or in absence of err possess decision making skills that enable life to be more comfortable, pain alleviated, sicknesses healed, and/or life prolonged. The capability of errors and likelihood of future errors in health care, acknowledged by practicing professionals in the field of health care carries heavy burdens and consequences when errors occur, particularly when it results in a fatality.
Consequences of health care errors are not readily forgiven by family’s who love those whom a fatality medical error strikes; healthcare professionals bear the brunt of guilt within their own decision making and judgments from the public or local communities; healthcare professionals deal with malpractice cases and rising costs of medical malpractice insurance; and sometimes face legal repercussions in the courts. In a local community where I once lived resided a young doctor just beginning his professional career, newly married, starting a family, and new to the small community. He was gaining respect as a good doctor in the eyes of the locals along with his significant other. As part of his obligations in the local healthcare system he was served regularly on-call for the local emergency room. One evening, a young-child from the community was rushed in by his family to the ER. The child was about 6 years old.
The child was throwing up. After being seen in the emergency room by the doctor the child was treated for stomach problems and released. The child died within 24 hours of being released from the ER. The family was outraged. They wrote letters and talked about the doctor being incompetent. An autopsy was performed and it was discovered that the child had been bitten by a poisonous spider.
The child had died and yes there had been a medical error. Could it have been prevented? Perhaps or, perhaps not. The doctor observed signs and symptoms and so many signs and symptoms are related and interrelated.
So much of what can help determine what goes on in emergency care and decision-making can be greatly influenced by what can be shared from the patient and the family. However, this does not change the fact that the doctor suffered greatly in the community for sometime as well as having to deal personally with the tragedy in his career, not to mention the beginnings of his career. The family lost their child.
The fact is medical errors exists and will always exists because humans are capable of errors. In light of this, more research needs to be done to examine medical errors, identify common types and links to precursors to the decision-making errors, and develop proactive prevention programs designed in response to research. Healthcare professional also need to be encouraged to share their mistakes and what precipitated the event to help in prevention efforts without fear of losing their professional careers or the respect of their colleagues. Awareness and acceptance programs need to be developed to help healthcare professionals work with families when mistakes are made. I found out from talking to one elderly lady who had to be put under three times following a carpal tunnel surgery that she respected the honesty of the surgeon. She was preparing to be released when they noticed a large amount of blood in the bandage. It turns out the surgeon had cut a main artery. She was put under a total of two times following the initial surgery to get the bleeding stopped.
The lady did not bring any kind of negligence suit against the doctor. She valued him being honest with her.References Wolf, Z., Serembus, J., & Youngblood, N.
(2001). Consequences of fatal medication errors for health care providers: a secondary analysis study. MEDSURG Nursing, 10 (4), pp.193-201.