Doctors have patients die all the time, and most of those deaths are due to natural causes, such as the final stage of terminal diseases. Unfortunately, some patient deaths are directly attributable to medical errors.
Physicians and other medical professionals are very reluctant to admit their roles in contributing to a patient’s demise. While that may be understandable, it obfuscates any attempt at transparency.
According to one 2016 research study by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), surgeons usually follow national disclosure guidelines. Still, “the act of disclosing medical mistakes to patients (remains) difficult” for them.
Last year, the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) issued a report. It focused on Medicare patients recuperating in rehabilitation hospitals and discovered that nearly 30 percent contracted infections from dirty equipment or suffered other harms during their extended recuperations.
Approximately 25 percent of those who suffered harm had to be re-admitted to acute care medical facilities to receive the proper treatment. In just a single month, the Medicare price tag for these transfers was approximately $7.7 million.
Is it just fear of litigation that prevents physicians from disclosing medical errors to the survivors of deceased patients? It appears that hubris on the part of the physicians, as well as fears of their colleagues’ condemnation, also play major roles.
Patients’ surviving family members may have no clue that their loved ones died at least partially because a doctor made an error. If your loved one inexplicably succumbed to a survivable illness or injury during a hospital stay, you may want to explore all of the legal options that are available to you
Source: PublicSource, “Study: Disclosing medical errors to patients is a tough thing for doctors,” Christopher Reed, accessed Nov. 24, 2017