Risk management is a big deal in the health care world. Patient safety experts in San Antonio and the rest of the country spend a lot of time and energy identifying the various ways patients can wind up in worse shape than when they entered the hospital due to mistakes caused by negligent staff.
The ways are many and very often they fall into the category of what expert have tagged “never events.” That is, they are so simple to fix that they are errors that just should not happen if proper protocols are followed. The beneficiaries are not only the patients who are treated. The hospital benefits, too, because fewer mistakes mean fewer suits for medical malpractice.
To give you an idea of how easy risk management can be there’s the story of a hospital in Milwaukee that made one small change that analysts believe could prevent thousands of errors every year.
All the hospital did was change the way it did temporary identifications of babies in the neonatal intensive care unit. Instead of following the practice used by most hospitals of identifying a baby as “Babyboy (last name)” or “Babygirl (last name),” the staff started adding the first name of the mother. So tags now read something like “Janesboy (last name)” or “Marysgirl (last name).”
The simple addition of the mother’s name to the equation was expected to reduce the risk of misidentifying a baby and increase the chance the baby would get the treatment called for. And a report in a recent issue of the journal Pediatrics indicates it worked. Incorrect orders for care were reduced by 36 percent.
Not every error can be corrected with as simple a solution as this. But regardless of the nature of the mistake, if it’s caused by negligent actions by staff, the hospital and personnel deserve to be held accountable for the injuries that result. If you believe you have a case of hospital over negligence, you should be speaking now with an experienced attorney.