Why A Former Microsoft Engineer is Determined to Improve Hospital Safety
The Seattle Times recently published the story of a former Microsoft engineer who was left paralyzed from the chest down due to a medical mistake. According to The Seattle Times, the engineer had suffered from ankylosing spondylitis, a condition that causes the spinal cord to become inflamed and brittle. The condition can also cause spinal cord fractures.
When this former Microsoft engineer fell out of bed one morning, he suffered a spinal fracture and immediately headed to the emergency room. Doctors did not believe he had suffered a spinal cord fracture and instead sent him home with painkillers.
Shortly after being sent home, the engineer experienced tingling and lost control of his bowels. He returned to the emergency room, except this time doctors took him more seriously. When technicians placed him into an MRI machine, he lost all function below his chest. He had become paralyzed.
Are Medical Mistakes Preventable?
According to the engineer’s attorney, the hospital failed to communicate with the engineer and doctors ignored his diagnosis. Instead of doing nothing, this engineer vowed to use his intellect to improve hospital safety, focusing on how hospital staff communicate with each other and patients. After all, poor communication is the contributing factor to medical mistakes.
If this engineer focuses his efforts on improving communication during handoffs, he is likely to be successful in creating the means for hospitals to prevent medical mistakes. According to a 2014 study in The New England Journal of Medicine, improving communication during handoffs can prevent medical mistakes by 23 percent.
Although this patient has a great intellect for engineering, all types of people can improve hospital safety. We recently wrote a blog discussing how a mother who lost her daughter became the head of a major patient safety organization, writing books and giving lectures throughout the country.
When patients or family members who have been affected by medical mistakes seek to improve hospital safety, people in the medical community should listen.
The Tampa Bay medical malpractice attorneys at Shapiro Law Group will fight for victims of medical wrongdoing.