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Does talking about medical errors help to reduce them?

Many people in the Toronto area rely upon health care providers to help them when they become ill or are hurt. In many cases the extensive training these individuals receive, make it possible for them to administer the treatment necessary to help the health of a patient improve.

Just as people in all occupations make mistakes from time to time, so too do doctors and nurses. Unfortunately, in some cases it is possible those mistakes could make the health of the patient significantly worse, or even lead to their death. In an effort to reduce those incidents, some hospitals are embracing a new approach. It involves admitting the mistake and talking about it.

One of the hospitals participating in this approach in the Toronto area is Hospital for Sick Children. Every morning departments throughout the hospital are briefed about potential safety issues from the previous day, by an executive lead at SickKids. Sometimes these safety issues pertain to patients, such as when a patient on the way to surgery was delayed. Other times however, they have to do with the safety of the employee, such as when one of them was accidentally stuck with a needle in the course of his or her job. In addition to holding workers accountable for their actions, this approach also makes it possible for other departments to anticipate certain issues.

While this approach may reduce the number of medical errors that occur, it is not likely to stop them completely. Anyone who believes they or a loved one have suffered as a result of a medical error should explore their legal options. Depending on the specifics of the situation it is possible a lawsuit could make sense.

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