. I had read your post on another thread about the patient with the needle broken off in her abdomen. I was just doing some website surfing for an assignment on risk management for my advanced professionalism class, and I came across this article:
"Effective July 1, 2001, hospitals are required to tell patients when they've been victims of medical errors under a new, first of its kind rule from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. Under the new guidelines, hospitals that don't discuss harmful mistakes with patients and fail to prove to commission investigators that they're doing so will risk losing their accreditation. The new standard was enacted partly in response to a 1999 Institute of Medicine report estimating that medical errors kill 44,000 to 98,000 hospital patients each year. The new patient safety standards pertain to the "Patient Rights and Organization Ethics Chapter". Hospitals are also required to initiate specific measure to prevent medical errors by analysis and re-design of potentially vulnerable patient care systems, such as ordering, the preparation, and dispensing of medications.
Some hospitals previously informed patients when errors occurred, but others chose to keep quiet to avoid potential lawsuits. However, research shows that hospitals that were honest with patients regarding mistakes faced fewer lawsuits. The new standards put more emphasis on communication, training, and teamwork, and encourage the internal reporting of medical errors.
Representatives of the American Hospital Association said the new standards echo AHA policy for its members, although that standard goes further, advising hospitals to tell patients about mistakes that don't cause any harm. In addition, some legislators in Congress are calling for nearly $1 billion to help hospitals and technology companies invest in devices to avoid more deaths and injuries. Congressional figures show medication errors, such as missed dosages, double dosages, and dangerous mixes, are thought to kill or injure 777,000 people each year.
More information on the new standards is available on the JCAHO web site:
Just thought you might find that interesting. . .