Nearly 100,000 deaths occur every year due to mistakes in hospitals or by healthcare workers. The problem is widespread, and the emotional toll it can take on victims exceptionally serious. The psychological effects of medical error affect more than just the patient, are all too often invisible and can tear families apart.
Those who are subject to damage from the mistakes of hospital staff might be afraid to report the errors. This fear is of retribution by those making the mistakes, and the possibility of making the situation worse or getting harmed more. This fear can be crippling and lead to depression, paranoia, anxiety and a slew of other emotional problems.
Those who suffer from medical error are not just the patients themselves. Family, friends and other loved ones tend to blame themselves for not asking the right questions, for not paying close enough attention or for not having taken the right actions to stop the error.
The feelings of frustration and helplessness result in self-blame, which leads to regret and resentment. Even when those affected are themselves healthcare workers, they can feel alienated and alone. Co-workers might shut them off or threaten them in an effort to disguise the mistake.
Healthcare workers, hospitals and other institutes often refuse to own up to these mistakes because they are afraid of liability issues, loss of credentialing and other penalties. In many cases, open communication could solve a problem that the healthcare industry refuses to address.
Those who are victims of hospital negligence may be entitled to compensation for their injuries and should never be afraid to report the problems. For more information or legal counsel, if may be beneficial to speak with a medical malpractice attorney.