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Study Finds Many Family-Reported Errors Go Undocumented

Study Finds Many Family-Reported Errors Go Undocumented

When physicians commit potentially-dangerous medical errors, it’s up to the healthcare facilities that employ them to log detailed incident reports that could prevent similar incidents in the future. These medical errors can be particularly troubling when they affect young patients who are still under the care of a parent or guardian.

Perhaps that’s why a recent study published in JAMA Pediatrics found that the parents of patients under the age of 18 are more likely to identify and report medical errors than their physicians. Furthermore, these family-reported incidents often go unnoticed by healthcare providers.

The study surveyed 746 parents and caregivers of 989 patients aged 17 years and younger. After analyzing their results, the study authors found that families reported five times more errors and three times more adverse events than hospital incident reports. In addition to these startling figures, the study also found that 49 percent of family-reported errors and 24 percent of family-reported adverse effects were undocumented by healthcare providers.

With these findings in mind, the authors of the study are urging healthcare providers to take family-reported incidents seriously, and to include them in the safety reporting process. Because parents and guardians typically spend a great deal of time with young patients, they may be more likely to notice certain types of errors than nurses or doctors. As such, healthcare providers should welcome the input of families, and respond to it to make their operations safer and more effective.

In their conclusions, the study’s authors wrote that “Families provide unique information about hospital safety and should be included in hospital safety surveillance in order to facilitate better design and assessment of interventions to improve safety.”

If you or a loved one has been injured due to a physician’s negligence, you need knowledgeable, experienced legal counsel to get the compensation you deserve. Give the malpractice attorneys at Ask 4 Sam a call at our toll-free number today, or contact us online to learn more.