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What happens when doctors make medical errors?

Although several New York hospitals and medical facilities take pains to maintain safe environments and procedures for their patients, errors can be made. Mistakes such as wrong-site surgeries are commonly referred to as "never events," or incidents that should not occur. Even when they do, however, patients are not always made immediately aware of them.

Doctors, traditionally fearful of facing medical malpractice lawsuits, have not always been forthcoming with patients about their errors. In some cases, the patient may not know that an error even occurred. A new study, however, shows that more doctors are accepting their responsibility and disclosing medical errors to their patients. The study also found that only three percent of physicians failed to disclose these types of mistakes to their patients.

This does not necessarily mean, however, that all doctors were completely forthcoming. In fact, only 42 percent of physicians were completely honest with their patients about a medical error occurring. Another 56 percent informed their patient of some adverse event but refused to take responsibility for any error. It is thus a possibility that many patients can suffer adverse effects from surgeries or treatments without ever knowing why.

Medical professionals are often held to a higher standard of care when treating their patients. When they fail live up to this standard, an individual can suffer life-altering injuries that they may never recover from. When doctors make these negligent errors, they may be held accountable. Anyone who has suffered harm at the hands of a medical professional may be able to recover compensation for their injury with legal help.

Source: Patient Safety Network, "Error Disclosure", October 23, 2014

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