Medical malpractice is a serious problem in the U.S. A study recently looked at how patients believe that doctors can improve their standard of care, and offered suggestions to doctors about avoiding medical malpractice in the future.
In the study, the researchers spoke with patients who had either accepted a malpractice settlement or had been injured too long ago to file a lawsuit, family members of patients, and staff members at three hospitals that have programs to help facilitate communication with patients about medical errors. The study found that after medical mistakes occur, patient satisfaction was highest when communications were not adversarial, and included compensation to the patient. Patients and family members of patients have a very strong need to be heard after the mistake occurred, and they expect the doctor involved in the case to listen to their feelings about the mistake.
The study found that when a medical mistake occurred, most doctors are focused on conveying medical information and treating the patient. They often do not realize that what patients and families need is for them to listen attentively to how the event affected them, without leading the conversation to only clinical issues. Also, patients prefer to talk to the doctor after a mistake occurred, because the doctor is the one who should be accountable. Surprisingly, both doctors and victims said that it could be helpful to have attorneys for the plaintiffs join those conversations.
Medical malpractice victims generally have a strong desire to know what would be done to prevent errors in the future, although few of those victims in the study received any information about safety improvements. Overall, the study found that patients need to be heard after the medical mistake, as well as to know what will be done to prevent such mistakes in the future.
All humans make mistakes, and doctors can as well. However, the actions they take after the mistake occurs can greatly affect the medical malpractice victims. If you believe that you have been the victim of medical malpractice in the Houston area, call the Houston medical malpractice attorneys at Kennedy Hodges at 855-947-0707. Our team can help. Call us today to learn more, or visit us on Twitter to learn more about the firm.