An initiative in some parts of the country encourages doctors to reveal medical errors to patients and apologize for these, as an alternative to a medical malpractice claim against the facility and the doctor. In spite of this approach, an overwhelming majority of hospitals in the United States do not bother to inform patients about injuries or infections that they may have suffered within the facility. Patients rarely get an acknowledgment of the injury, let alone an apology from the hospital, doctors, or nurses.
That unsurprising data was compiled by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Researchers at the facility analyzed responses of 236 patients, who took part in a Patient Harm Questionnaire by ProPublica. In their analysis, the researchers found that in far too many cases, health care providers simply withheld information about any medical errors that were made during the patient's care. In only 9% of the cases, patients said that the hospital volunteered information to the patient about an error or injury. The study found that even when the hospital did inform the patient, it was only because it had no other option. Of those surveyed, 9% said that the hospital only acknowledged the harm when it was pressured to do so.