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Why New York patients are entitled to full disclosure

If something goes wrong during a surgery, the patient is should be informed about the error and why it happened. A research study released by JAMA Surgery showed that patients do not always get the full apology that they are entitled to. Of the eight recommended procedures surgeons should follow after a surgical error, a survey of 60 surgeons revealed that only five are generally observed.

Those five include notifying the patient within 24 hours, expressing regret that it happened and showing concern for the well-being of the patient. Furthermore, surgeons typically explained either to the patient or his or her family why the error occurred and worked to treat any further complications. However, researchers from Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research, Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System said that only 55 percent of respondents said that they offered an apology.

The same number of respondents said that they let the patient know whether the error was something that could have been avoided. Part of the reason the percentage is not higher is that many surgeons have a hard time talking about the errors that they make. Despite this, accepted standards say that patients have the right to know if something unexpected happens.

If a patient is harmed by surgical or post-surgical errors, he or she may be entitled to compensation, which may be available to pay for medical bills, lost wages and lost future earnings. It may be possible to hold both the surgeon who made the error as well as the hospital where the accident occurred responsible for financial damages. An attorney may be helpful in determining whether a case may be settled either in court or through an outside settlement.

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