We can fight against medical malpractice with data if the law required hospitals, outpatient surgical centers, and doctors to be more transparent. This is nothing new, but this post was inspired by the May 2017 issue of Consumer Reports. The main thesis was empowering people to take charge of their heart health. An important message considering heart disease is the nation’s leading killer. Several articles offered good advice about heart health. Even if you don’t, or cannot, exercise, there were several helpful suggestions like limiting sweets and eating more fruits and vegetables.
The article that caught my eye was, Why Hospitals Need to Share Surgery Success Data. It reported that about half of the nation’s 1,000 hospitals that perform heart surgery voluntarily share their complication and mortality charges with Consumer Reports. That is troubling. Patients should have easy access to data so they can intelligently select their health care providers, especially when it is a matter of life and death.
How often do you check user reviews before buying an item on Amazon or other sites? How often do you compare items before buying? Why should health care be different?
The thing that bothers me is that Arizona allows hospitals and doctors to hide behind the “peer review” and “quality assurance” protections to prevent public disclosure of complication data. Even when a patient falls victim to a hospital’s repeat offender, the patient is not given this information. I have heard there are hospitals that allow a surgeon, who repeatedly injures his patients through negligence, to continue performing surgery because the surgeon’s procedures make the hospitals A LOT of money. When an injured patient tried to investigate the hospital’s knowledge of the prior events and determine what steps the hospital took to prevent future injuries, the hospital hid behind the peer review and quality assurance protections. They are essentially enabling the surgeon to continue committing medical malpractice.
Protecting patients’ safety should be a priority in Arizona, not protecting paychecks. So, what can you do? Contact your state representatives and tell them we need transparency and safety in Arizona’s health care system.
If you believe you or a loved one was injured by medical negligence, feel free to contact us to investigate if there is a valid claim to pursue.