Make no mistake: Hiding medical errors harms patients, physicians

Here’s a scary stat: According to a recent study from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, if medical error was a disease, it would be the third leading cause of death in the U.S.

Communication breakdowns, diagnostic errors, poor judgment and inadequate skill as well as systems failures in clinical care result in between 200,000 to 400,00 lives lost per year.

According to Monique Tello, MD, MPH, an internal medicine specialist at Women’s Health Associates, a culture of silence is driven by fear of litigation, but this is ultimately dangerous to the patient.

Safer health care can’t be achieved without first creating a national database of medical errors so the information can be compiled for quality improvement and prevention research.

The release sites an example where “myocardial infarction” may be listed as cause of death for a patient who was sent home from the emergency room with chest pain and a diagnosis of acid reflux. But there is no direct way of knowing if the fatal heart attack was due to misdiagnosis.

Click below to read the full story: