The New York Times reports that the Obama administration, in an effort to make healthcare in the United States safer, is developing a new system that will allow patients to report medical mistakes and physician or hospital malpractice directly to the federal government via a phone hotline or website.
According to federal officials, tens of thousands of Americans are injured or killed by medical mistakes, including prescription drug mix-ups, surgery on the wrong body part, radiation overdose, and many other medical errors that go unreported. Research indicates that as many as one in four patients experience “adverse events” during their hospital stay and frequently such events are not noted in the patient’s medical records. There is currently no system in place for consumers to report medical mistakes to government agencies.
Reporting, which will be voluntary and confidential, will be done via a questionnaire that asks patients what happened and why, allowing them to choose from a list of possible reasons ranging from poor communication to a lack of care for the patient’s wellbeing on the part of the physician. The government hopes to use the information to solve widespread problems and improve the overall quality of healthcare in the nation. Whether or not the healthcare providers cited will face legal or financial penalties remains to be seen.
Have you or a relative undergone serious harm, injury or even death due to medical mistakes? Contact the medical malpractice attorneys at Hodes Milman Ikuta to learn more about how you can receive compensation for your suffering. Call us today: (949) 640-8222.