Why doctors don’t disclose others’ medical mistakes

| Dec 4, 2013 | Doctor Errors

South Carolina patients will be interested to know that a recent report revealed that many medical errors have gone unreported by doctors who are aware of another doctor’s medical malpractice. Despite the code of ethics that mandates medical error disclosure, many patients have been released from hospitals without being informed about their impending health danger.

While some doctors feel a sense of obligation to inform patients about doctor errors, there are those who would prefer to remain loyal to their fellow physicians. There are several underlying factors that influence many doctors to remain silent about their knowledge of medical errors. For example, in an effort to keep a good reputation, some doctors will avoid disclosing information because of their perception of the medical malpractice incident.

According to the report, medical errors that doctors cannot avoid informing a patient of are often ones that will manifest rapidly. Another reason for silence is to avoid participating in legal investigations. While medical professionals are ethically bound to tell patients about the errors that they committed, they may not be required to tell the patient about another doctor’s mistakes. Medical malpractice can result in a patient receiving a significant injury that creates complications that can linger for years. Some cases of medical malpractice have led to the patient’s death.

While many doctors fear that disclosing a medical error will lead a lawsuit, keeping the truth from a patient can backfire. Many patients lose their trust in the medical community after they experience a doctor attempting to cover up a mistake. A medical malpractice lawyer will investigate the incident and if necessary, file a lawsuit on behalf of a victim or a client’s deceased loved one.

Source: Pacific Standard, “Why Doctors Stay Silent About Mistakes Their Colleagues Make”, Marshall Allen, November 25, 2013

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