Medication errors in family practice, in hospitals and after discharge from the hospital: an ethical analysis.
ABSTRACT Thousands of medical errors are occurring daily in physician's offices, in hospitals, and even upon discharge from the hospital, leading to unnecessary injury and death and costing billions of dollars. We have a systems approach that has been proven to be tried and true in aviation, nuclear energy and many other industrial settings. Being honest when medical mistakes occur, reporting them to national clearing house, objectively searching for root causes, avoiding the fixing of arbitrary blame, and then, where possible, implementing safeguards to minimize the occurrence of future mistakes, is the best way to enhance patient safety. But until the medical establishment takes medical errors and patient safety more seriously, and until the general public rises up in protest, it is up to the state and federal governments to take the lead in protecting the lives of innocent Americans by creating a public policy.