We should learn from our mistakes. Actually, a famous New York law professor and commentator, David Siegel, always says that we should learn from others’ mistakes. That’s a much less painful way of learning.
Having practiced as a Central and Syracuse New York personal injury and medical malpractice lawyer for many years, I sometimes get the impression that corporations, hospitals and doctors do not learn from others’ mistakes (the pain-free way) or even from their own (the painful way). They just repeat the same mistakes over and over again.
Sure, that keeps someone like me in business, but wouldn’t it be better for the rest of us if hospitals and others learned from their mistakes, minimized them, and put me out of business? (Don’t worry about me – I can always be a greeter at Walmart, if they don’t mind that I have sued them a couple of times).
But I digress. I really wanted to blog about a hospital that apparently has learned from its mistakes. On Wednesday, the New York University Langone Medical Center announced important procedural changes in its ER room after the death of a 12-year old patient from septic shock. The young patient reported to the ER with a fever and rapid heart rate a few days after cutting his arm while diving for a basketball at his school gym. The Hospital’s ER docs sent him home, assuring his parents all he had was a stomach bug.
Some bug! He later went into shock, experienced organ failure, and died three days later. Turns out that cut on his arm had allowed dangerous bacteria to enter into his blood. Turns out the Hospital had taken a blood test that showed the serious, dangerous infection, called “sepsis”, but the ER doc never reviewed it before releasing him.
Can you say, “malpractice”? I’m sure the boy’s parents can, and they have already hired a NY malpractice lawyer.
I have to applaud this Hospital, though, for at least attempting to learn from its mistakes. I can’t tell you how uncommon that seems to me! The Hospital has announced that ER docs and nurses would, from now on, be “immediately notified of certain lab results suggestive of serious infection”. The Hospital has even put in place a new checklist to make sure their staff has conducted “a final review of all critical lab results and patient vital signs” before a patient is discharged.
So this hospital has learned (the painful way) from its mistake. The question is, will all the other New York hospitals learn (the pain-free way) from this hospital’s mistake?
Let me put it this way — I don’t plan on applying for a job at Walmart for a while . . .
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!