In a March edition of the New York Times there is a discussion about a new piece of Legislation being introduced in the USA (Affordable Care Act) which, among other things, looks at the issue of improving patient safety.    Regrettably, in America, each year, tens of thousands of people die and hundreds of thousands are injured due to medical error.     As will be all too apparent to anybody who listens to the news or reads the newspaper, there are relatively high incidences of medical error in Ireland also.

At O’Shea Russell Solicitors we provide a dedicated Medical Negligence Claims Service. We believe that not only does Litigation in this field help compensate and assist the injured party but it also helps to effectively force medical centers, doctors and medical insurers into implementing remedial policies and actions.

The New York Times article states that “Experts agree that the best way to reduce medical error is to gather and analyze information about past errors with an eye towards improving future care….    the openness and transparency promoted by patient safety advocates appears to be influencing hospitals’ responses to litigation risk”.

It has been found in America that, while hospitals historically took on an adversarial and secrecy approach (as they still do in Ireland) to Lawsuits and error, that has begun to change.    In recent years, in the USA, hospitals are becoming increasingly open with patients and are far quicker to apologise for errors.      These hospitals are more willing to discuss and learn from errors with hospital staff.

A study carried out by Joanna C. Schwartz, Assistant Professor of Law at the University of California is reported in the New York Times Article as stating that “malpractice suits are playing an unexpected role in patient safety efforts, as a source of valuable information of medical error.    Over 95% of hospitals in my study integrate information from law suits into patient safety efforts and RISK MANAGERS AND PATIENT SAFETY PERSONNEL overwhelmingly report that lawsuit data has proved useful in efforts to identify and address error”.

Definitely something more for us to import from the USA!

However, regrettably, SORRY still seems to be the HARDEST WORD !

CONTACT: Mary R. O’Shea

O’Shea Russell Solicitors

Tel:  059 9724106


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