Hearst Newspapers reported, “While the White House acknowledges that hospital medical errors are ‘a big and serious problem,’ a senior administration official says President Barack Obama does not favor a mandatory reporting system for all medical mistakes, just for infections.” The Administration argues for this separation because “while infections can be easily documented, not every medical mistake is a clear-cut error on the scale of the amputation of the wrong limb or application of the wrong drug.” The official said, “Once you get past the clear cases, it gets a lot harder” to assign blame. “Many of the cases are much more ambiguous.” Some supporters “say the White House might simply be making a pragmatic decision to postpone a fight over error reporting.”
Hospitals said to be improving medical error disclosure. In the Informed Patient column on the front of the Wall Street Journal Personal Journal section, Laura Landro writes on the trend of hospitals being more open after medical errors. In an effort to avoid lawsuits and eventually improve hospital safety, the hospitals are offering greater disclosure to patients after errors. Landro writes that there is some indication patients are less likely to sue after full disclosure and offered compensation. Landro also recounts specific instances of hospitals disclosing medical errors then creating new programs to avoid the same errors happening in the future.
From the American Association for Justice news release.