The article, “Hospital blunders caused 32 deaths” by Kate Hagan who is a health reporter for AGE sources explores the disasters and catastrophes of Victorian hospitals that took place over the year 2009 -2011 years. A lot of these mistakes involved things from a procedure concerning a certain body part or wrong patient, an infection control breach and medication mix-ups. The author stresses the point that all of these mistakes were caused by hospital staff. This article really raises concerns about hospital care in Australia. It is also apparent how that the data is displayed for the first time. Also the article clearly shows how the degree of complications and errors and in Victoria's hospitals and emphasized how little the state government reports these issues. It seems to only be disclosing only the most severe problems. The main point of the article is the fact that the "sentinel events" report appears not to be naming hospitals or patients, and is created by the Health Department so that future incidents cannot happen.
It appears that this is an ethical issue which both appear to have a severe impact on the delivery of quality health care. With that said, research shows that this appears to be a growing problem in Victorian hospitals. However, research shows that medical errors are very actually common in every day clinical practice in Australia as well as around the world. Even when being taking seriously caution does not appear to prevent from having an error free hospital regardless of what country. As stated by British Medical Journal , “about 900,000 medicinal mistakes happen in National Health hospitals every year causing some 50,000 deaths. Unpleasant events occur in about 20% of all hospital patients in Australia and other countries throughout the world." (p. 300). Today’s times 2008makes the point that a cost of 2 billion pounds per year because of medical errors. This is part of the reason that these blunders go unreported. In other words the patient’s names and hospitals are not disclosed to the public but some people would argue that this is unethical. The information clearly explains the magnitude and the significance of the issues. In actual fact medical mistakes are avoidable in most of the cases. Nonetheless the sad part of the issue is these errors in the past are not being revealed to the patients or the family. Exposé of medical mistakes is a very big concern for the management and leadership of a hospital in terms of ethics that is considered to be institutional.
Fischer (2008) describe medical blunders in nursing as “Commission or error with possibly adverse consequences for the patient that have been assessed mistakenly by well-informed peers at the time that is happened , self-governing of whether there were any adverse penalties” (p.670). In this respect accepting of the mistake and understanding that it is a mistake is extremely significant. The matter is if it is assumed that fault has happened, then it would need to be revealed or not.
In the past, Victorian hospitals have had issues with not disclosing the problems that had been going on with the blunders. The article describes these incidents as a sentinel event. This is described as "a rare incident that guides to severe patient harm or death which is exactly caused by healthcare instead of the patient's fundamental illness or condition (Hagan, 2012). However, because they are aware, it is obvious that they did not report them as they should because they believed the incidents to be very minute (Fischer, 2008). The article mentioned that there were about 1.5 million admittances to Victorian public health services in 2010-11 but does not give a percentage of the number of admissions that were blunders. Medical errors are supposed to be disclosed as an ethical and moral obligation of the health care personnel and the organization as whole regardless of how minute. For instance, the JCAHO and JCIA have made it a rule in 2001 that admission of mistakes would need to be applied in hospitals. (Berstein, 2008).
There are a lot of hospitals all over the world where the health care specialists conceal and do not reveal medical mistakes to the their families or patients. Mistakes are exposed if by any chance the family or the patient discovers the error. Connell (2009) did some literature review of 400 journals on medical blunders and the reasons why they go unreported. He find out that they did not report due to doubts about how to reveal what was going on and its consequences, and anxieties and fears. Furthermore, risk of sullying person’s along with the reputation of the hospital, legitimacy matters, low self -esteem in the occupation, suspicion of the patient and the family, and interference in expert development are also the reasons why some organizations chose not to report . This tends to be an issue that goes on in other countries as well. This can affect the public at large because without reporting everything, it will eventually get leaked out into the public which could cause a severe scare of people wanting to go to the hospitals. People might not want to trust medical facilities anymore and then lawsuits can occur thus putting a great strain on the healthcare business.
However, according to Boyle, (2008), in a 2008 survey of institutional risk mangers made the point that 46% of the organizations have accepted disclosure policy and the percentage went up to 70% in 2005. They further cited that United Kingdom and Australia in 2003, National Superiority Meeting safe practices and Harvard in 2007 highlighted and delivered rules for complete disclosure of medical blunders to patients and also to the public so that people will know what is going on in these hospitals. Unlike some of the hospitals in Victoria people were actually unaware of the full picture. The trend displays that consciousness for disclosing medical errors is starting to gain its popularity especially in Australia where a lot of the blunders were taking place.
With everything said, it is obvious that ethics do play a major role in the mishaps going on at the Victorian hospital. There are too many accidents taken place and not enough of the being reported. It is obvious that these hospitals are coming forward and taking responsibility for their actions but in the end there still needs to be more investigation into the matter. The mishaps in Victoria have served as a wakeup call to all of Australia because as mentioned above more awareness is starting to take place. Ethics play a big role in making this happen because when the lines are crossed, in the end it effects the patients, doctors, nurses, the hospital and the community.
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Hagan, K., 2012. Hospital blunders caused 32 deaths. [Online] Available at: http://newsstore.theage.com.au/apps/viewDocument.ac?page=1&sy=age&kw=Hospital%20and%20errors&pb=age&dt=selectRange&dr=6months&so=relevance&sf=text&sf=headline&rc=10&rm=200&sp=nrm&clsPage=1&docID=AGE120830CJ6ED4922EI[Accessed 20 Janurary 2013].