New Law Allows Doctors and Hospitals To Hide Their Mistakes | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

By James C. Lewis, HSCLA AttorneyAs we all know, medical malpractice can occur in the hospital setting whenever a doctor, nurse, or staff member a makes a medical mistake. These medical mistakes frequently result in personal injuries to the patient that the doctors and nurses are there to help.Most hospitals have systems in place that result in an investigation being conducted by members of the hospital staff, whenever a serious medical malpractice mistake is committed that results in serious personal injury to a patient. These investigations seek to identify the source of medical malpractice, they identify the nurses and/or doctors and/or staff member who were involved in and otherwise responsible for the medical mistake. They also analyze the system where by the health care was being delivered to the person who sustained serious personal injuries. In addition, these investigative committees frequently amend or modify procedures in an effort to prevent the medical malpractice mistake from occurring again in the future.Unfortunately, the Virginia State Legislature has enacted a law which prevents patients who have suffered serious personal injuries because of medical malpractice from having access to any of the information collected by these investigating committees. No matter how serious the personal injury is or how aggravated the medical malpractice committed by the doctor, nurse or staff member was, this law protects all of the information obtained by any investigating committee from discovery by the patient who sustained a serious personal injury or by his attorney/lawyer. Numerous efforts have been made over the years by advocates for people who have suffered serious personal injuries to amend or otherwise modify this law, but thus far these efforts have been unsuccessful. For now, people who suffer serious personal injuries at the hands of negligent doctors, nurses, or hospital staff members staff members will be left to prove their cases without the benefit of the investigation conducted by the very health care entity who committed the medical negligence to begin with.Keywords: Virginia medical malpractice/negligence/errors, doctor/hospital/nurse malpractice