The Law Offices of John Phebus

Doctor's errors often caught by parents

According to a report that has been published in JAMA Pediatrics, a significant number of medical errors are identified by family members. A study, led by a Boston pediatrics researcher, found that about one in 10 parents were able to identify errors with respect to their children that a doctor did not at a hospital's two pediatric units. This leads researchers to believe that involving friends and family of patients may help to improve quality of care.

To determine how often errors were identified, researchers reviewed data from 2013 and 2014 for nearly 400 children who were patients at the Boston hospital. Part of the data included written surveys completed by parents about whether there were any safety issues during their child's stay.

There were a total of 37 reported safety incidents, and they were classified as either medical errors, quality issues or not safety problems. Upon reviewing the data, it was determined that over 60 percent of the incidents were medical mistakes, and 24 percent were due to quality issues. Of the situations involving medical errors, 30 percent caused harm and were considered to have been avoidable. Patients identified communication problems as one of the largest sources of errors, especially when day and night staff did not pass on important information.

People rely on doctors to determine what is wrong with them and ensure that they are receiving appropriate treatment. There is not always a family member present to step in if a doctor is making a mistake. If people believe that they have been harmed by medical professional negligence, an attorney can outline their legal alternatives.

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