Thursday, August 24, 2017
System Errors or Human Errors
When Errors Happen is it The System?
When I am hired by a hospital or medical facility to speak to the staff about patient safety, my first thought is that this is a facility that cares about safety and patients. Since my work is primarily about patients and their safety, it must mean they are serious. Why else would I be there?
Still, there is never a guarantee. I spoke a few years ago and a hospital. Once for senior leadership and then for the “hands-on” patient staff. A double presentation because they are “that serious” I thought to myself. Unfortunately there is no guarantee no matter how hard they try, that patients will be safe. I just read an article about that hospital and a patient who died because of the care he received. Although there may be many others, this one made the news. I truly believed that this hospital, in another state, was serious about patient safety and though I believe the people I was involved with there were serious, there are so many opportunities for errors to happen.
Most people in healthcare call the errors or unplanned deaths “system errors” not enough staff, distraction by a nurse or pharmacist or any number of reasons a mistake can happen. In this case, as in many cases, this hospital’s system, in my opinion was working. Instead someone may have cut corners or not went to leadership about the problems that ultimately caused this patient’s death.
When a family members calls to talk about a bad outcome at a local hospital, I suggest they speak to the hospital leadership. The people who are running the facility may not even know that an injury occurred or why. They need to know where the system, or people are failing. I also looked carefully at this article – without all the facts and saw where a trained family member may have been able to save this patient’s life. A trained family member may have been in a position to speak up and alert someone that something doesn’t seem right. They didn’t and the patient died. If they did, how would that be measured?
Sign up for Family Centered PatientAdvocacy Training at Hofstra University, Hempstead, Long Island. Register Her: http://www.pulsecenterforpatientsafety.org/family-centered-patient-advocacy.html