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Obama Administration Proposing a Plan to Check Medical Errors

Injuries and fatalities resulting from medical negligence are both preventable and unacceptable. The consequences of medical malpractice can be devastating, especially considering that malpractice is characterized by failure to administer a level of care that physicians are fully capable of employing.

As a result of this preventable suffering, President Obama's administration is currently working to ensure that sufficient checks are placed on medical errors and other medically negligent behavior through a consumer reporting system. Under this system, consumers would be able to report unsafe medical practices and mistakes committed by hospitals, doctors, nurses and other health care providers.

Drug and radiation overdose, drug mix-ups, surgical errors and several other problems lead to injuries, infections and thousands of deaths each year. Information gathered from the patients and their families can go a long way in ascertaining the causes of these errors.

This proposal will also provide the physicians and hospitals with an opportunity to learn about their mistakes and make an improvement in their services. Authorities will collect all the relevant information pertaining to medical mistakes along with the name and address of the medical service provider through a draft questionnaire. This information, if the patient allows it, will be shared with the concerned nurse, doctor or hospital. Even some hospitals and doctors have acknowledged the merit of the proposal.

In the medical profession, there exists a set standard of care and caution. Those who are involved in diagnosis and treatment of patients must not violate that standard. Mistakes and unsafe medical practices on the part of doctors and hospital staff are unethical and are not acceptable under any circumstances.

Victims of medical malpractice are entitled to compensation. Patients and their families can initiate legal action against the doctors and hospitals for damages, medical expenses and lost income. Residents in Rhode Island should realize that legal avenues are always open to help victims of medical malpractice.

Source: The New York Times, "New system for patients to report medical mistakes," Robert Pear, Sept. 22, 2012

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