How Many Doctors Hide Their Medical Mistakes?
Medical Malpractice Attorney Jonathan C. Reiter, New York says per John Hopkins Study, “Medical mistakes are now the third-leading cause of death in the United States.”
No one is perfect, and being human means making a mistake from time to time. Furthermore, few people enjoy admitting when they’re wrong. This is particularly true in the workplace, where a big mistake can mean a loss of trust, reputation, and even your job. For this reason, many workers are reluctant to admit when they have cost their company a big client, or when an error they made resulted in a huge loss.
But what about doctors? When medical professionals make mistakes, people can end up seriously hurt or even deceased. In the most catastrophic cases, a patient dies because a doctor engaged in medical malpractice. When a person’s life is on the line, how important is it for doctors to admit when they deviated from the standard of care?
Alarming surveys show that many doctors not only fail to admit their mistakes — many of them take steps to hide their errors from their patients and employers.
One-Fifth of Doctors Say They Don’t Admit Medical Mistakes
A survey conducted by the Mongan Institute for Health and published in the journal Health Affairs revealed that one-fifth of doctors “hadn’t fully disclosed their mistakes over the past year in order to avoid a lawsuit.” To conduct the survey, researchers spoke to almost 1,900 doctors to determine how often doctors fail to inform patients about medical errors.
Additionally, the same survey revealed that 40 percent of doctors “didn’t think it was necessary to tell patients if they had accepted speaking fees or a free vacation from the manufacturer of the drug they were prescribing or whether they owned the scanner for the imaging test they were ordering.” This is important, as doctors are frequently courted by drug companies and medical technology manufacturers who provide doctors incentives to suggest certain drugs or tests to their patients. These incentives for doctors can include free trips, consulting fees, stock options, and expensive dinners.
In another survey conducted by WebMD’s site Medscape, 7 percent of doctors said it was “acceptable to hide a clinical mistake that harms a patient.” Another 14 percent said “it depends.”
According to the Code of Medical Ethics set forth by the American Medical Association (AMA), doctors don’t have a choice when it comes to admitting their mistakes. The ethical code makes it clear that doctors have a professional obligation to disclose medical errors.
Additionally, doctors are often reluctant to expose the mistakes of their fellow doctors. Many doctors say they would be unlikely to blow the whistle on a colleague if they learned their fellow doctor committed medical malpractice. When doctors fail to speak up when they know of another doctor’s wrongdoing, it can expose future patients to serious and even fatal harm.
What Are Your Options When a Doctor Engages in Medical Malpractice?
Medical mistakes are now the third-leading cause of death in the United States. When doctors don’t tell patients when mistakes occur, patients can suffer additional and even irreparable harm. For example, a patient whose surgery was botched could go on to develop future problems that lead to long-term or even permanent disability. In other cases, a patient whose doctor missed or misdiagnosed an illness could develop a more serious condition down the road.
If you have been the victim of a medical mistake it’s important to act quickly to protect your legal rights. Medical malpractice cases are generally quite complex, as they involve the need to obtain an expert opinion on whether your doctor deviated from the standard of care. As a result of medical malpractice cases involving medical matters, it’s often necessary to consult with experts who can educate juries and judges on the nature of the injury and the doctor’s choice of care and treatments.
Because doctors sometimes fail to tell a patient when they’ve made a mistake, patients don’t always know that they have been injured. There have been cases in which a patient went for years without knowing their pain or health condition was caused by a medical error. This is why it’s important for patients to speak up and ask for help when they suspect they have been harmed by a doctor’s negligence. The sooner you get help, the better your chances are of bringing a medical malpractice case within the time limits for filing a claim.
It’s also important to work with a medical malpractice lawyer near you who has experience handling these types of complex cases. Your health and future are too important to leave to chance or unskilled hands. A knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyer will help you protect your rights and inform you about your options. If you’ve been injured by a doctor, you have the right to receive full and fair compensation for your injuries and other damages. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help.
New York Medical Malpractice Law Office of Jonathan C. Reiter
350 5th Ave #6400
New York, NY 10118
Prior results cannot and do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome with respect to any future case. Recoveries always depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case, the injuries suffered, damages incurred, and the responsibility of those involved.