Today was very eye opening and inspiring. I learned so much about patient safety issues and ideas from the stories told, data presented, and patient experiences shared. There are a lot of lessons and information that I will take back with me after this experience, but for this blog post I will just focus on one that stood out to me.
The way MedStar handled the medical error case of Jack Gentry was incredible. I was so impressed to hear the steps taken by the surgeon and hospital to acknowledge the error from the beginning and ensure they did the right thing for the patient and their family. It was during the post discussion piece that someone mentioned the importance of asking how an organization dealt with their last serious medical error. I had never thought of asking this question before during an interview or as an employee of a medical center. Inquiring about the handing of the last serious medical error can help you learn so much about the culture of an organization.
I also wonder how easy it is to get this information in the public sector. I would be concerned that they may not give me correct information when I ask this question or in the case of MedStar it may sound too good to be true when it is the truth. This information is so critical to understand before accepting a position at a medical center and could really prevent you from working within a culture that does not match your patient safety ideas. As patient, having this information may also help you to receive care at a center that truly values patient safety and does not try to “hide” their mistakes and not learn from them.
I definitely plan on going back to my workplace to ask them how the last medical error was handled and the protocol for handling errors, as I think this is critical for me to understand in order to promote patient safety and reporting within the organization.