The AP (12/11, Tanner) reports that "in 2005, Illinois legislators…passed
a measure requiring hospitals to report the deadliest kind" of medical
errors, but "the law has yet to be implemented — and it likely
won’t be for at least another year." Illinois "budget
woes and foot-dragging by special interests are among reasons cited for
the long delay." However, "there are finally glimmers of progress.
That includes the recent launch of a related state website that tracks
hospital infection rates and staff levels, and the imminent start of a
search for a vendor to help put the law in place."
Ten years ago, a landmark report proved that medical mistakes kill up to
98,000 Americans yearly. Only a handful of states have decided to do something
about it, Minnesota being the first in 2003. In 2005, Illinois modeled
a law after Minnesota’s. Four years later, the law has still not
been implemented. Why? Foot-dragging by special interest groups. Finally,
though, some progress is being made, including " the recent launch
of a related state Web site that tracks hospital infection rates and staff
levels, and the imminent start of a search for a vendor to help put the
law in place."
According to the AP report, "The law will require hospitals to publicly
report so-called "never" mistakes. These are mostly preventable
errors with potentially life-threatening consequences — like the
surgery Chicago-area doctors performed on a gentleman or the forgotten sponge
left inside a Plainfield woman during breast tumor surgery."
A few things the law requires:
- hospitals required to report major medical errors within 30 days to the
state’s public health department
- list of hospitals and mistakes will be posted online
- hospitals required to determine cause of errors and to develop corrective plan
These kinds of laws should be in every state in our country. Medical providers
should not bow to special interest groups. Sharing more, not less, following
an adverse event is the only way to truly minimize future medical errors.
Encourage your legislators to work hard to implement strong laws that clearly
work to open communication and spur better, safer health practices.
About the author:
Mr. Zambri is Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington,
DC and has been rated by
Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of
all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area. The magazine also describes
him as "one of Washington’s best–most honest and effective
lawyers" whose practice is dedicated to handling catastrophic personal
injury matters, including medical malpractice actions stemming from defective
or dangerous medications and medical errors. He has also been named a
"DC Super Lawyer" by
Super Lawyer magazine (2009-2010)–a national publication that honors the top
lawyers in America.
Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors,
as well as both medical and law students concerning medication errors,
medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.
If you want more information about your legal rights, please email
Mr. Zambri at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 202-822-1899.