A 2005 report published by VitalSmarts and the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses said that out of 1,700 medical staffers, including from doctors and nurses to administrators, more than half of those healthcare workers personally witnessed their coworkers act in ways that were medically incompetent or disrespectful. Unfortunately, this is happening in many medical facilities all over the country, including North Carolina.
The study also found that 84 percent of the doctors who participated in the study witnessed other medical personnel take shortcuts when performing medical procedures that could have endangered patients. The most disturbing aspect of the entire report was the fear that these medical professionals had in reporting their coworker’s behavior. The report showed that only 10 percent of the doctors who witnessed dangerous and careless behavior actually confronted their coworkers.
There is a growing movement to develop technology that would track procedures performed and make medical personnel feel more comfortable in reporting careless behavior by forcing them to be accountable. For example, by using technology to record and track a surgery, if a physician uses a tool that is not sterile, every medical professional present at the surgery would be held accountable for not speaking up because they are all on the recording.
Almost 200,000 patients die each year due to medical mistakes that could have been prevented. The families of those left behind have the ability to file a medical malpractice suit against the medical personnel and the facility that allowed the misconduct. However, these types of cases are often difficult for the family if they are not familiar with the procedures of such a malpractice case or medical procedures. A skilled attorney who focuses in medical malpractice could be an asset in deciphering the complex legal rules of a malpractice case and helping the family get the restitution they deserve.