What is wrong with Ohio hospital care? Why do we hear about never-ending medical errors and mistakes being made in Ohio Hospitals? Every day we hear about or experience needless and countless numbers of tragic deaths and serious and catastrophic injuries in Ohio Hospitals due to system failures and communication breakdowns. Before I venture any further into this story, let me indicate to you that I truly believe that being a physician or a healthcare provider is an extremely honorable and commendable profession that involves unbelievable sacrifices on the part of each and every healthcare provider to reach their goals. I truly believe that anyone that enters the healthcare field enters it with the goal of helping heal those that are injured and ill. I don’t believe that any doctor heads to work in the morning thinking who can I commit malpractice on? Who can I ignore? Who can I cut corners on so that I can make more money at the expense of my patients’ health and well-being?
Unfortunately, tragic and preventable medical errors or mistakes are made every single day because the medical system and healthcare system is fragmented and broken. Communication breakdowns between nurses and doctors and other healthcare providers happen on a regular and continuous basis. Too much is attempted to be done by too few healthcare providers and as a result patient care and satisfaction is at an all-time low. The business of medicine often prevents comprehensive physician-patient communication from taking place to help and to heal. The fact that everyone seems to be too busy in hospitals and doctors’ offices to stop and listen is no excuse for what is happening on a daily basis.
While no one intends to cause harm, harm occurs and it is no excuse legally or morally to say I didn’t mean to cause the bad outcome or I didn’t realize that you had A when I treated you for B. When harm is caused, honesty should prevail and our system should be directed to preventing the same system errors from occurring rather than denying that there is a problem. The legal system is set-up to promote patient safety and to make those that refuse to comply with the standard of care to be held responsible.
So why then do medical errors and mistakes continue to occur and why is it necessary for there to be lawsuits brought against healthcare providers? More importantly, why do so few doctors and healthcare providers agree to accept publicly or privately to the patient they have harmed, that they made an avoidable error. Our legal system is the only measure that truly exists to protect patients that are harmed needlessly, carelessly and preventable by doctors. No other profession is more defensive and more resistant to change and instead patients are blamed for causing the problem and their lawyers that are brave enough to stand up and demand change are viewed as the enemy. Jurors are the conscious of the community and they decide whether the care provided is what they accept as reasonable and prudent.
Doctors are trained to treat and to diagnose and to use their knowledge, training and experience to prevent or to recognize conditions and to minimize diseases from spreading and illnesses from happening. They are trained to diagnose the difficult medical conditions and to not take shortcuts and assume that a problem is nothing to worry about. They are trained to identify possible causes of a patient’s symptoms and to identify those causes that can be life-threatening. Too often doctors accept an easy diagnosis because it fits and they refuse to rethink their diagnose until something terrible happens to their patient. When they realize that they didn’t listen to their patient or rethink the diagnosis because they accepted the easy and most likely explanation and when they are wrong, they want to be excused from being thorough. They want to say it was my judgment and it looked like pneumonia even though it could have been a pulmonary embolism or it looked like gastric reflux when it could have been a heart attack.
What I have learned over the past three to four years through personal experiences being a patient in Ohio hospitals and through reflecting upon my 34 years of practice representing patients and their families has caused me more than ever before to be a patient advocate to promote safety measures to protect every patient that places his or her trust in the hands of a healthcare provider. Our healthcare system is broken and it’s the medical profession and the members of the medical profession that need reform – not the legal profession and the courts that are created to protect those very persons and individuals that are harmed by this broken system.
So what is my message and what is so profound about this and upcoming blogs that I will be presenting? Stay tuned for a first-person personal perspective on where the healthcare profession has lost its way and what I have observed at a very personal level. Do I have the answers? Perhaps. Will anyone truly believe that my thoughts are unique or groundbreaking? Doubtful. Nonetheless, I intend to provide my thoughts as an Ohio medical malpractice attorney who has represented patients and their loved ones for 34 years.