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.
Few hospitals apologize for mistakes. Only 11% of patients reported that they received an apology from the hospital. More than 30% of the patients actually incurred additional hospital expenditure because of the harm. On average, patients paid approximately $14,024 in medical bills that were related to the error and the injury.
According to the researchers, even though doctors are now encouraged to be open about medical errors, this rarely happens. It is important for doctors in training to be taught to admit medical errors when they do occur and deal with these in the most humane and professional way possible. Medical school training programs must include modules on dealing with medical errors when these occur instead of encouraging doctors to hide errors and injuries.
If you have suffered a medical injury or an infection as the result of care in a hospital, an admission about the error or an apology won’t be on its way any time soon. Don’t spend precious time waiting for the hospital to acknowledge its error.
Speak to an Indiana medical malpractice lawyer immediately about your options for compensation through a medical malpractice claim. You could recover compensation for damages including medical costs, lost income, diminished future earning capacity, and disability. Discuss your claim with an attorney at our firm, today.