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Why Don’t Providers Always Communicate with Patients after Adverse Events?

Helen Haskell, MA; mother of Lewis Blackman, a 15-year-old boy who died from medical error; President of Mothers Against Medical Error; member of the IHI Board of Directors

Have trouble viewing this video? Read the transcript.

Learning Objectives: At the end of this activity, you will be able to:
  • Discuss one reason why providers don’t always communicate with patients after adverse events.
  • Explain why patient access to information is changing the dynamics of medical error.

Description: Lewis Blackman, a healthy 15-year-old boy, died in 2000 after an elective surgery. In this video, Helen Haskell, his mother, explains why communication isn’t always the norm after adverse events, and why this dynamic is changing.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why do you think hospital attorneys and risk managers have such influence over providers after adverse events?
  2. How do you think patient education about health care is changing the dynamic of communication after adverse events? What other aspects of health care is it affecting?
  3. Do you think patients should be made aware of medical error after it occurs in their care? What role do you think they can play in preventing adverse events?
  4. Have you ever been in a situation where you felt that the right thing to do was not what an authority figure or organizational policy was encouraging you to do? How did you handle it? Where did you go for support?
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