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If you or a loved one are in a military hospital, you need to know that it’s being held to the same standard as civilian hospitals. This story from Dec. 21 alleges that some hospitals may not have been taking into consideration the complaints of workers about malpractice or neglect, going as far as to retaliate against them for their opinions and observations.

Patient safety relies on everyone on a medical team and staff taking the time to observe what’s going on and taking care to reduce errors in any way possible. Unfortunately, this report shows that interviews and emails reported problems at military hospitals. Medical workers reporting problems were identified as being punished or ignored instead of heard when a problem was discussed.

In Ohio at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, one psychiatrist reportedly had to deal with her supervisor trying to oust her after she complained about the supervision of the residents. Another former surgeon at Womack reportedly was passed over for a promotion due to reporting a supervisor’s failure to properly examine one patient who died from cancer at a later date.

The fear of retaliation may cause discussions about the care provided at military hospitals to shut down, which is damaging to hospitals’ reputations and to patients who go there for help. An analysis of military hospital data has shown that there are high rates of complications in maternity care and surgery, leading to questions about why this isn’t being discussed. Additionally, the research discovered that some hospitals failed to investigate after patients died or were injured, leaving questions about what happened to cause these errors.