Parkland Hospital Audits Raise Troubling Questions
Audits such as these also undermine assertions that "frivolous" medical malpractice lawsuits are driving up healthcare costs. It's a hard sell for hospitals to claim they're the victims of opportunistic trial lawyers when hospital workers aren't doing something as basic as washing their hands. Before asking patients to surrender their right to legal redress, healthcare needs to clean up its act.
A detailed study of the workplace culture at Parkland Hospital should be conducted to determine what led to this breakdown in fundamental operations, chain-of-command, accountability, and employee engagement. It is important that we know why because what happened at Parkland could happen -- and has happened -- elsewhere.
There must be caring, compassionate and competent healthcare professionals at Parkland. So, where were they? How could staff allow such wholesale chaos to occur? Were attempts to bring these potentially lethal threats to patient health and safety to light ignored or discouraged by hospital leadership? Or were the systemic failures at Parkland so great that staff simply gave up trying?
What would drive a considerable number of educated, competent, compassionate and decent healthcare professionals at Parkland to ignore the safety and well-being of their patients? How did these healthcare professionals get to this painful point?
John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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