In 1999, the Institute of Medicine estimated that approximately 98,000 deaths resulted annually from medical errors. This shocking number does not appear to have lessened during the intervening years. Mistake-proofing techniques similar to those that have proven useful in the product liability context hold great promise for reducing the number of medical errors. However, the adoption of such techniques in healthcare settings is more limited than expected. This article examines potentially useful mistake-proofing techniques, explores the largely unsound reasons why healthcare professionals have been slow to adopt such techniques, and explores the implications of mistake-proofing adoption (or lack thereof) for malpractice litigation and liability. Along the way, this article considers the undesirable effects of misperceptions on the part of healthcare professionals regarding their risks of being held liable in a malpractice case. This article also proposes ways of encouraging greater adoption of mistake-proofing techniques and other error-reduction practices in healthcare contexts.
Grout, John R.; Hill, John W.; Langvardt, Arlen W..
Mistake-Proofing Medicine: Legal Considerations and Healthcare Quality Implications.
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