Monday, September 26, 2016

"The wall of silence" in hospitals

I once suffered a terrible reaction to a medication--I was coughing up pints of goop, week after week, I could not breathe, all known side effects of  this medication, but the doctors said oh, no, it was just late-onset asthma.

I ended up in the hospital for five days and was told they didn't know if I was coming out alive.

Through all this, the nurses and doctors kept saying asthma...One nurse even said, "They told you you had asthma, right?" Uh--yes.

So that was their story and they were sticking to it. When I finally recovered, the weirdest thing--no asthma. (The medication dumped out of one's system over a nine-month half-life, they called it.)

The University of Michigan has been testing something they call the CANDOR toolkit since the early 2000s. CANDOR stands for Communication and Optimal Resolution.

The feds have now more or less endorsed this as a way for hospitals to handle an situation in which a person gets harmed in the hospital (not my exact situation--I was inadvertently harmed before the hospital).

With the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality taking this toolkit to the national level, transparency and learning, with the patient at the center, is now possible.

In the 15 years of using this, UMHS has seen dramatic drops in the number of new lawsuits and the number of malpractice cases that make it to court.

Personnel are more free to report situations that cause harm or are a near-miss.

But also out in the open? Appropriate care.  There is a difference between a bad outcome, an allergy, a bad reaction, and bad care.

But at least don't lie. The coverup can be worse than the event.

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