Think Doctors Will Own Up To A Mistake? Think Again!

Doctor with patient

In a perfect world, your doctor could be trusted to be forthcoming about any mistakes he or she made while providing medical care. Sadly, this is not a perfect world, and a recent study involving over 300 doctors confirmed that most would try to hide their roles in any mistakes made involving treatment.

We’ll talk about it in this issue.

The Study at a Glance

For their study, researchers posed questions bases on hypothetical scenarios to primary care physicians from three healthcare facilities in Washington, Massachusetts and Georgia.

The two scenarios involved:

  • A delayed breast cancer diagnosis
  • A delayed response in addressing a patient’s symptoms caused by a breakdown in the coordination of the patient’s care

Among the participating doctors, more than 70% said they’d be less than forthcoming about what happened. This included:

  • Giving no apology or a limited one
  • Providing no explanation or a limited one
  • Providing no information or limited information about the cause

Why Are Doctors Less Than Forthcoming?

In an article written for STAT News, board-certified physician Dr. Lawrence Schlachter pointed to the overall medical culture, which “frowns (upon) admitting mistakes.”

To counteract that, Schlachter encourages patients to get past our tendency to merely accept whatever a doctor says. “As patients, we are conditioned to assume that our doctors know best and always have our best interest in mind,” he wrote.

In getting away from that mindset, Schlachter says to pay attention to words. “You will likely never hear the terms negligence, error, mistakes or injury in a hospital. Instead, these harsh but truthful words and phrases are replaced with softer ones like accident, adverse event or unfortunate outcome.

“If you hear any of these euphemisms, ask more questions or seek another opinion from a different doctor, preferably at a different facility.”

Call The Fitzgerald Law Firm If You Feel You’ve Experienced Medical Malpractice

If you feel that you’ve been a victim of medical malpractice, call us here at The Fitzgerald Law Firm.

Our number is 800-323-9900, and the first consultation is always free.