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Some doctors might hide mistakes to avoid medical malpractice

On Behalf of | Jan 26, 2017 | Medical Malpractice

Any person undergoing medical treatment or surgical procedures in New York might assume that if a doctor or nurse makes a mistake, he or she will inform the patient as soon as possible. Recent data suggests the likelihood of this occurring is next to none. Most doctors surveyed reportedly said they would they hide mistakes. Moreover, they would not even apologize to a patient out of concern about potential medical malpractice claims.

The study involved approximately 300 physicians throughout the United States and was conducted by a team of national researchers. The doctors were presented with two hypothetical situations and asked various questions about how they would respond under similar circumstances. Researchers were reportedly troubled by the fact that the hundreds of doctors surveyed seemed to suggest that they are only upfront and honest with their patients (and offer apologies) if they believe the value of doing so outweighs not doing so.

Some say the medical community frowns upon confessing one’s mistakes and apologizing for them. Others say the biggest perceived risk pertains to doctors wanting to preserve their own reputations. Such worries appear to be what prompts them to “pass the buck” to other parties instead of admitting their own errors.

One woman had a standard spinal surgery. After excruciating pain post-op, it was discovered her surgeon had implanted a screw dangerously close to her spinal cord and far from the location it should have been placed. When questioned about his obvious error, the doctor supposedly claimed the screw had moved on its own. Anyone injured during surgery in New York, who believes medical malpractice may have been committed, can seek guidance from a personal injury attorney about filing a claim in a civil court.

Source:, “Medical culture encourages doctors to avoid admitting mistakes“, Lawrence Schlachter, Jan. 13, 2017


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