Chasing Zero Essay

1065 Words5 Pages
Chasing Zero is a documentary which was meant to both educate the viewer on the prevalence of medical harm as well as to enlighten both the public and health care providers on the preventability of these events (Discovery, 2010). The documentary expounded on the fact each year more people die each year from a preventable medical error than die due to breast cancer, motor vehicle accidents or AIDS (Institute of Medicine, 1999). Medical harm can result from adverse drug events, surgical injuries, wrong-site surgery, suicides, restraint-related injuries, falls, burns, pressure ulcers and mistaken patient identities (Institute of Medicine, 1999). Incidences of medical error have been reported in the media for many years. The most startling…show more content…
One of the most critical factors which contribute to the number of preventable cases of healthcare harm is the culture of silence surrounding these cases. The fear of medical providers to report incidences is related to the possibility of punishment and liability due to a medical error (Discovery, 2010). The criminalization of some acts of medical error has resulted in job dismissal, criminal charges and jail time for some healthcare workers. This is despite the fact that the system they are working in helped to create the situation which led to the error in the first place. Human error, due to fatigue and system errors can result in deadly consequences, but by criminalizing the error it effectively shuts down the ability to correct the root problem. Healthcare workers, working at all levels within the medical system, can provide valuable input on how to improve the processes and prevent harm from occurring (Discovery, 2010). Healthcare workers are not the only ones fearful of exposing medical errors. The medical institutes themselves operate behind a wall of silence. The IOM first recommended a national medical error reporting system in 1999 and despite attempts by then President Clinton, the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association successfully lobbied against it (Dyess, 2009). As of 2009, only 20 states have a mandatory medical error reporting system and only a fraction of estimated
Open Document