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Research shows that doctors should be discussing medical mistakes

A new article called "Talking with Patients about Other Clinicians' Errors" may affect healthcare providers in Pennsylvania. The article was authored by a professor of medicine, bioethics and humanities at UW, and the article was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. His work, which he started more than ten years ago, is aimed at bringing the subject of medical mistakes made by colleagues into the open.

According to reports, there are three guiding principles outlined in his paper, and they start with an initial conversation between colleagues. The next step requires that a complete explanation is provided for patient in question. The final guideline includes making counselors available for facilitating the entire process.

In addition, the professor also created a video to teach medical students at UW how a conversation of this type could take place. The video includes a scene a young doctor who is discussing a mistake that occurred in the reading of a patient's EKG with an older more experienced doctor. She requests a second look from the older man, and the woman also consults with a third doctor. According to the article, conversations such as these could help doctors to learn from mistakes while also preventing medical errors in the future.

Even as this research begins to affect the field, injuries resulting from medical errors are still common. Medical malpractice attorneys may be able to help those who have suffered injuries or the death of a loved one because of the negligence of a healthcare provider. Such an attorney might be able to provide advice during an initial consultation and may help a victim explore his or her options. That attorney may then be able to build a case for compensation that might help pay for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.

Source: KOMO, "UW researcher: Doctors need to discuss colleagues' medical mistakes", Denise Whitaker, October 31, 2013

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