Walter Reed Hospital Called Gross Violation of the Patient Rights of Veterans by National Institute of Patient Rights

Share Article

Dr. Mark E. Meaney, Director of the National Institute for Patient Rights, today called on Congress to conduct a complete and thorough investigation of what he called the "gross violation" of the patient rights of distinguished veterans at Walter Reed Hospital. He called the case one of the worst instances of the violation of patient rights in recent memory.

People may say 'this could never happen to me,' but instances of the violation of patient rights like this happen everyday across this country to patients and their families in the delivery of their health care at the hospital bedside

Dr. Mark E. Meaney of the National Institute for Patient Rights (NIPR) today called on Congress to conduct a complete and thorough investigation of what he termed the "gross violation" of the patient rights of distinguished veterans at Walter Reed Hospital.

In what he said was one the worst violations of patient rights in recent memory, Dr. Meaney cited five patient rights that appear to have been violated in the treatment of war-injured vets at Walter Reed Hospital.

"This speaks to a total breakdown in communication, both at the clinical and at the administrative levels of hospital operations," said Dr. Meaney.

Meaney went on to say that such a breakdown indicates a complete disregard for patient self-determination and informed consent.

In referring to the failure of communication, Dr. Meaney stated, "Any number of medical and non-medical personnel should have known about and called attention to a total disregard of these distinguished veterans' patient rights."

"It is my hope that Congress and the new leadership at the Hospital not engage in the blame game by singling out individual healthcare professionals, such as individual nurses, in seeking accountability for the violations of patient rights. This case indicates systemic problems implicating administrators, doctors, nurses and even the hospital chaplaincy," said Meaney.

Meaney applauded the Veterans Administration Hospital system as having taken the steps to create a comprehensive clinical ethics function to protect and promote patient rights. "However, it is now apparent to all that the clinical ethics function has not been thoroughly integrated into the delivery of health care at the hospital bedside."

A well-integrated clinical ethics function can serve as the glue that holds together a chain of communication in a complex and often chaotic hospital environment such as Walter Reed.

He noted that, "Unfortunately, this is a microcosm of the state of the delivery of health care in hospitals across the United States. It is an issue that demands immediate Congressional attention as well as the attention of health care professionals. The fragmentation of care and uncoordinated care is endemic and frequently leads to a breakdown in communication and medical mistakes."

"People may say 'this could never happen to me,' but instances of the violation of patient rights like this happen everyday across this country to patients and their families in the delivery of their health care at the hospital bedside," he said.

The National Institute for Patient Rights (NIPR) is a free-standing, nonpartisan, community interest organization with a social mission dedicated to improving the provision of health care services in a manner respectful of the dignity of patients.

NIPR sponsors programs and publishes materials to educate the public on their rights as patients and patient advocates. We believe that patients and their advocates can learn how to assert their rights without necessarily alienating healthcare providers.

For further information about the National Institute for Patient Rights and the National Campaign, please contact Dr. Meaney at:

NIPR

Suite 301

6635 E 18th Ave.

Denver, CO

Tel: (303) 321-8600

###

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print