Risky business in the medical sector

Missouri residents may be interested in learning more about some of the inherent risks that affect the quality of treatment provided by health care facilities across the country. A 2005 study of more than 1,500 medical professionals exposed a propensity for dangerous errors and complicit behavior occurring on a routine basis in the medical sector. More than half of the respondents reportedly observed a fellow employee demonstrate poor practices at work, including disrespectful behavior, poor teamwork, insubordination and incompetence.

The study shows how basic communication and compliance issues among physicians, nurses and administrators may be causing many patients to suffer. Almost 90 percent of the respondents reported working with a coworker who exercised poor judgment, while nearly 85 percent witnessed a colleague taking shortcuts that endangered the patient. Despite the apparent danger patients were exposed to, less than 10 percent of their respondents actually confronted the other employee about the risky conduct.

A follow-up study conducted in 2010 found that, despite the advances in technology and tools available, the same inherent shortcomings are still prevalent in many health care facilities. Almost 200,000 patients die annually around the country as a result of medical errors that were preventable, and many maintain that the poor communication is still at the core of this problem. A number of medical professionals are hesitant about open communication because they fear tarnishing their working relationships or the potential consequences for any infractions that were committed.

Patients injured by doctor negligence typically benefit from consulting legal counsel. Lawyers may be prepared to investigate the incident and help determine which medical personnel are responsible for the resulting injuries. Plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases may be able to obtain damages that help cover medical expenses, corrective procedures and loss of income.