General amnesty: for victims and causers of medical errors?Ab Klink heads in the correct direction. Socrates: it is better to be a victim than a perpetrator.
More than a year ago SIN-NL made its entrance and published about the horrible situation of medical errors and its victims. Almost nobody listened.
The Nivel/Emgo report finally caused an uproar. On the 26 th of April2007 the Dutch parliament held an emergency debate and . Minister of Health Ab Klink will formulate emergency measures within 2 weeks.
During our various discussions with physicians, psychologists, journalists and lay-persons the myth of the fiancial greed of victims of medical errors was mentioned. It is most necessary to correct this wrong image and describe the truth. What is the situation?
Physicians exclude this group of innocent patients from honest information and adequate remedial care, in spite of their professional obligations base don the Law of the Medical Treatment Agreement. Victims of medical errors become –metaphorically- prisoners of physicians who either made the error themselves or who want to cover-up for their colleagues. This is the reason we use the term general amnesty.
When do physicians understand that victims of medical errors are not their adversaries who only want to sue?
This is the product of the imagination of physicians and hospitals and for them a reason and excuse to exclude victims of medical errors from honest information and remedial medical care. Apparently a simply phone-call from a physician to his/her colleague is enough to blacklist patients. In the mean time, victims of medical errors get non-useful examinations and even non-useful treatments and are misled, for years and years.
Please be aware: scientific research by ao Marie Bismark, New Zealand, John Banja, USA as well as experiences of the Sorry Works coalition, USA and various American hospitals make the following clear:
Victims of medical errors above and for all want to receive honest information about what happened and if the damage can be repaired via adequate remedial medical care. Furthermore the victims of medical errors want physicians to learn from their mistakes and that this error will not be repeated and inflicted upon other patients.
Only when physicians and hospitals mislead the victims, keep them in suspense, and do not act according to their professional obligatoins, the sorrow and anger increase and make the victims consider litigation. Openness and honesty can prevent this. Thank G-d Minister Klink understands this.
He ask to examine if physicians who do not inform their patients can be sued by the prosecutor. This justified. We already described the analogy with leaving a victim of a road-accident, without any assistance. This is a criminal offense.
Abandonment by a physician of his patiënt by not informing him/her correctly and refusal to provide adequate remedial medial care after the error, in spite of his professional and legal obligations, can be considered as a criminal offense. Colleagues cover-up, because they can also make an error today or tomorrow.
This way victims of medical errors are condemned to a life-sentence metaphorically-and become prisoners of physicians, without any form of trial, based on self-protection and a myth. One physician even said to us: your situation is comparable to prisoners in Guantanamo-bay.
This cannot continue. Beware: victims of medical errors are innocent fellow human beings who had the bad luck to struck by a medical error.
These “prisoners of the physicians” are entitled to an immedeate general amnesty.
Physicians you should liberate them today! If you do not so voluntarily, the authorities will have to force you.
We are thinking about our attitude towards the group of physicians who has caused so much preventable and avoidable sorrow. Should we give them general amnesty?
Let them first show understanding and regret. This is the least.
We call upon all conscientious physicians to change their ways.
Victims of medical errors are not adversaries who run immedeately to court. Please give the victims of medical errors honest information and adequate medical care, acoording to your professional and legal obligations, and according to the “Tell and Repair” protocol, see speech G. van der Wal Inspector General of the Health Inspectorate 23 november 2006, see www.igz.nl which is based on the Harvard Consensus Report (2006) When things to wrong: responding to adverse events, see international.
You can learn from your errors and from your patients and rebuild the confidence.: information, transparancy and respect in stead of mistrust.
Minister Klink: we do not strive for legal procedures, which are hard to win due to lack of objective medical reports and which are only advantageous for the lawyers.It might indeed by wise to examine if directors of hospitals can be held accountable for medical errors, and if the financial arrangments for serious victims of medical errors can be improved. Legal procedures do not have our main attention.
Toppriority is and should be to arrange information and adequate remedial medical care for the victims and their families. Honesty improves the relation between physicians and patients and will enable physicians to learn from their errors.
You are heading in the right directions, listen to the victims, start the dialogue.
A lot has to be done, please hurry to limit and avoid preventable sorrow.
Hillel said: if not now, when?