In the United States, we pride ourselves on having excellent health care. We have the most modern equipment, and doctors from around the globe come here to receive their training. When it comes to medical technology and education, we export like crazy. Unfortunately, even highly paid, well trained doctors are as human as the rest of us. As terrifying and painful as it is, doctors and nurses make mistakes. And unlike most mistakes in life that can be corrected and gotten over, many of these accidental faux pas are either lethal or permanently life altering for the patients on the receiving end.
The sad fact is, medical professionals make mistakes in as many as 3% of procedures. And considering the incredible number of operations and procedures (even things as seemingly mundane as giving a shot) performed in this country on a regular basis, this can result in the loss of tens of thousands of lives in a year’s time. And so far, only Connecticut has taken the action of instituting a law to mandate transparency when it comes to medical errors. The primary focus is to shine a proverbial light on the mistakes medical personnel make, so as to minimize them by allowing staff to learn from the mistakes of their colleagues.
One definite upside to any medical mistake transparency law is that it will be easier for patients who are seriously injured (or the families of those who have died) from a medical error to seek compensation for the wrong done to them. A medical mistake lawyer operating in an area where such transparency is in effect would definitely have an easier time in finding out (and proving) the truth of what really happened. While even the largest payout ever would provide only some relief to those permanently harmed, the vindication and closure it would grant are a great step toward eliminating medical mistakes.