"LEARNING FROM MISTAKES THE BEST WAY TO BETTER PATIENT CARE - by Salma Khalik, Health Correspondent, The Straits Times Friday June 30, 2006"
I was pleasantly surprised to read this editorial in today's newspaper, as it gives a viewpoint which does not damn the doctor, quite unlike previous writings which tend to do the opposite.
This was written in response to a recent case in which an elderly lady died after having been prescribed with the wrong dose of digoxin. This error had not been picked up & at the time, no checks had been in place to prevent this error from happening. This has since been corrected & new systems are now in place to, hopefully, minimise such errors in the future.
"Who among us has never made a mistake? Doctors to are human, and it is unrealistic to expect them never to make errors.
That is why it is important that system checks are in place as a safety net to catch mistakes."
Big revelation. About time for the public to realise this.
She ends off with this paragraph:
" Singapore has a great public health system. Far from perfect but constantly improving. And it is this willingness to admit mistakes and to learn from them that has led to better patient care.
As patients, that is all we can ask for."
It is indeed optimistic of her to say so, although I wonder whether this is true in practice or not. I have a feeling that the fear of blame is still preponderant enough in our hospitals & clinics to prevent the admission & reporting of medical errors & near misses.
Who knows, maybe this little nudge from the media may prove to be the first teensy weensy step towards a change in the mindset of the medical community where medical errors are concerned.
There is hope yet.