In Tennessee Medical Malpractice, Admitting A Mistake is Just the Beginning

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Approximately 100 serious medical mistakes took place in middle Tennessee hospitals in the last three years. About one dozen of those were actually reported and the others are just an estimate, based on federal statistics, of the number of mistakes that did occur yet went unreported.

A Memphis medical malpractice attorney usually does have to do a fair amount of investigating, digging into medical records when something goes wrong at a hospital, because very few health care professionals will come right out and admit mistakes. But, that culture of secrecy, usually intended to avoid malpractice lawsuits, may be changing.

One reason for the change is that hospitals are under increasing pressure to reduce medical mistakes, which makes sense, because a medical mistake is actually a patient who was harmed or even killed by the incorrect actions of a health care professional. In order to reduce mistakes however, hospitals must first recognize that a mistake occurred.

Both Medicare and Medicaid are increasing pressure on hospitals to eliminate preventable mistakes by refusing to pay for readmissions and longer hospital stays that are required because of medical negligence.

While admitting to the cause of a patient’s need to be readmitted to the hospital may go a long way to helping families fully understand what is going on, it does not change that the medical mistake occurred. Admitting a medical mistake does not mean that a family who’s lost a loved one due to malpractice no longer has a right to seek compensation for their loss.

Just as no amount of money will bring back a loved one, the admission of medical error will not do so either. But, together, both are pieces to helping families heal after a preventable medical mistake ends in tragedy.

Source: The Daily News Journal, “Hospitals moving to change culture, admit mistakes,” February 18, 2012