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Healthcare staff largely silent when witnessing medical errors

A widespread culture of silence among healthcare workers enables medical errors to go unchallenged in Illinois and throughout the country. A report produced by VitalSmarts and the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses revealed that over half of the nurses, doctors, clinical support workers and administrators that responded had seen colleagues break rules and make mistakes.

Other unprofessional conduct reported by healthcare workers included poor teamwork, disrespect for colleagues, micromanagement and even outright incompetence. Among doctors, 88 percent of them noticed colleagues taking risky shortcuts with patients or making substandard clinical decisions, according to the VitalSmarts survey.

When asked about reporting medical errors and poor conduct, healthcare workers responded in the same survey that they rarely challenged colleagues over mistakes. Less than 10 percent of them indicated that they had directly expressed concerns about potential errors.

Deaths attributed to preventable medical errors claim close to 200,000 people annually in the United States. A person whose family member suffered injury or death because of a medical mistake, such as a failure to treat an infection, could consult with an attorney about a medical malpractice lawsuit. An attorney familiar with medical cases might review the medical records and help a person determine if a healthcare worker failed to provide reasonably competent care.

Evidence of negligence could allow a person to recover damages associated with a death or worsened medical condition. Hospital bills, burial expenses and lost income are types of compensation a victim might receive from a successful lawsuit. An attorney might help a person estimate the extent of the financial damages and negotiate a settlement with an insurance company. If needed, an attorney could also represent the victim in the courtroom.

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FAQ Medical Malpractice

Frequently Asked Questions about Medical Malpractice

Q: What is medical malpractice?

A: Medical malpractice is negligence committed by a professional health care provider, such as a doctor, nurse, dentist, technician, hospital worker or hospital, whose treatment of a patient departs from a standard of care met by those with similar training and experience, resulting in harm to a patient...

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