Joint Commission for Health Care Professionals Issues Alert on Preventing Medical Errors

“Leaders must commit to creating and maintaining a culture of safety.” National Patient Safety Foundation. Free From Harm: Accelerating patient safety improvement for 15 years after To Err is Human.  2015 (accessed Dec. 8, 2016). This is just a part of the Sentinel Event Alert publication of The Joint Commission Issue 57, March 1, 2017.

The core of the publication is that leadership in hospitals and medicine generally have a priority to be “accountable for effective care while protecting the safety of patients, employees, and visitors. Competent and thoughtful leaders contribute to improvements in safety and organizational culture.”

This alert acknowledges that hospitals, doctors, nurses and health care professionals must do a better job of protecting their patients from harm. The article states that “The Joint Commission’s Sentinel Event Database reveals that leadership’s failure to create an effective safety culture is a contributing factor to many types of adverse events-from wrong site surgery to delays in treatment.” Smetzer, J, et al. Shaping systems for better behavioral choices: lessons learned from a fatal medication error. Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety. 2010; 36: 152-164.

The Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare has identified contributing factors that have led to adverse outcomes, which carry the signs and markings of preventable harm to patients. The point is that leadership has the opportunity to dictate how adverse outcomes to patients can be avoided by initiation of top-down changes. These include what was described in the article as “trust, accountability, identifying unsafe conditions, strengthening systems and assessments.”

Skeptics may say it is about time that these leadership goals were instituted.  Too many avoidable and preventable deaths and permanent and debilitating injuries occur to patients treated in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities and immediate care centers. Often these adverse results are observable, predicable and, most importantly, preventable. Maybe this is a beginning for more conscientious and careful medical treatment.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling medical malpractice cases for individuals and families who have been injured or killed by the negligence of a medical provider for more than 40 years, in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including River Forest, Lake Forest, Park Forest, Forest Park, Crestwood, Calumet City, South Holland, Barrington, Inverness, Naperville, Elgin, Joliet, Hickory Hills, Summit, Chicago (Rogers Park, Irving Park, Jefferson Park, Andersonville, Albany Park, South Shore, East Side), Schaumburg, Schiller Park, Sauk Village, Countryside and Libertyville, Ill.

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