Doctors in Connecticut may not report the mistakes of others
Posted on behalf of Michael D'Amico of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Dec 09, 2013 in Doctor Errors
While most doctors agree that healthcare providers have a responsibility to admit their own mistakes to patients, many tend to stay silent regarding the errors of others. A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests several reasons for a physician's hesitation to report the mistakes of a colleague.
One reason may involve financial incentives in the medical profession. The study asserts that many doctors rely on referrals for business. Because a doctor may retaliate to criticism by sending patients to other specialists, many doctors might choose to overlook certain errors committed by their colleagues. In other cases, some doctors may simply be trying to avoid becoming entangled in a time-consuming medical malpractice lawsuit. Other reasons can include societal factors such as seniority, gender, race and cultural differences.
The obvious cost of this lack of communication in the healthcare community is the harm it may cause on patients. If doctors do not take the time to discuss mistakes with one another, they may be likely to repeat the error in the future. The issue may also negatively affect the relationship between patients and doctors in general. In order to avoid these problems, the report suggests that doctors should gather information and talk to the other physician about the error. The study also asserts that healthcare facilities should foster such conversations between their employees.
Errors made by doctors, including misdiagnosis and surgical mistakes, might cause serious unnecessary harm to a patient. Those who believe that they were injured due to hospital or doctor negligence may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the parties found to be at fault. Pursuing this type of lawsuit may help injured patients receive monetary compensation for excess medical bills, lost wages and, in some cases, pain and suffering.
Source: Pacific Standard, "Why Doctors Stay Silent About Mistakes Their Colleagues Make", Marshall Allen, November 25, 2013