Sunday, May 22, 2005

Dangerous, Do not Touch

Recent evidence shows that physicians are less likely to report errors made in the course of patient treatment. The reason most often cited for this lack of reporting was fear of legal action. Thus, this has become a significant obstacle in improving patient care and working towards safer and more efficient methods. Recently, many programs began implementing anonymous reporting systems as a way to circumvent this fear, in the hope that reporting of adverse events would increase.

The program director of the Mad House Medicine Residency program announced that he would install a reporting system on our residency website. The system would be completely anonymous and would allow the interns and residents to report situations in which patient safety was endangered in various ways. It was, after all, a relief. A system of instituting interventions which ultimately will lead to less morbidity and mortality.

But then how was I expected to restrain myself from reporting what I know to be the greatest danger in our hospital? Believe me, I tried. But unfortunately, one day after the system was instituted, much to my dismay, I found myself writing an email that clearly explained what I thought to be the most threatening factor to the future health of my patients:

“Medical Students, Interns, Nurses, and Me”.