Do Hospitals Value Parents’ Concerns Over Their Children’s Care?

child patient medical malpractice attorney st louis mo

Do hospitals listen when parents report their concerns over their children’s medical treatment?  And do they document these family concerns?

JAMA Pediatrics recently reported the findings of a survey that compared the rates of family-reported medical errors to how often healthcare providers reported them and how often hospitals noted the incidents.

Researchers surveyed the parents of about 700 hospital patients who were 17-years old and younger.  They also surveyed the caregivers of the patients as well as reviewed hospital incident reports.  Four pediatric care facilities were involved.

Of those participating, 185 families reported 225 medical errors over the course of the eight-month effort (December 2014 to July 2015).

Parents’ Reports of Medical Errors Go Undocumented Half the Time

The research found that parents and healthcare providers reported medical errors and adverse events for these young patients at about the same rate.  However, they found that hospitals failed to include the medical mistakes uncovered by family members in their incident reports about half of the time.  And about one-quarter of the time the hospital medical records did not include adverse events – an additional injury caused by medical care – that were identified by mom and dad.

Put another way, family-reported medical error rates were five times higher than what the hospitals’ records reflected.  And the family-reported rates for adverse medical events experienced by the children were three times higher than what hospital records showed.

Parents’ Concerns with Medical Errors

A new survey reported on the U.S. News and World Report website reveals that parents are very concerned about medical mistakes their children may suffer while in the hospital.  A Harris Poll including 542 parents of children under the age of 18 years showed that while 90 percent of those surveyed trusted hospitals, they shared significant trepidations over their children’s’ care, including:

·         40 percent were concerned that their child could suffer a fall or a medication error

·         53 percent were concerned over their child suffering an infection following surgery

With medical errors being the third-leading cause of death in the United States according to some estimates, parents’ concerns are understandable.  But the dismissal of their worries and error accounts by hospitals is not. This neglect may not only jeopardize proper care but also make determining what went wrong and why unnecessarily difficult.

If you had a child or loved one die while receiving hospital treatment and you suspect mistakes were the cause, visit with a medical malpractice attorney who is experienced in conducting in-depth hospital investigations and pursuing justice for victims’ families.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.

Authored by: Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C. in Blog on March 15, 2017