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Study Finds Doctors are Reluctant to Discuss When an Error is Made

DoctorsWhen a medical error occurs, patients expect their physician to be honest about the mistake. After all, it is the disclosure of a probable or confirmed error that provides the patient with a chance to receive treatment that may be able to reverse any damage that may have been done. Yet, even in situations where the damage cannot be undone, an honest and sincere apology could go a long way in easing the stress, anger, and frustration a medical error victim experiences.

Unfortunately, that honesty is rare. More than that, a recent study found that only a small percentage of doctors have any intentions of offering any sort of apology or disclosure for a mistake. Not only does this contradict society’s ethical expectations, it could place patients at an unnecessary risk for increased harm, injury, or death. As such, it is critical that patients understand their rights, particularly their right to pursue compensation when a medical mistake leads to harm.

Few Physicians Would Offer Full Disclosure

In a poll of 630 primary care physicians from three states (Washington, Georgia, and Massachusetts), of which 333 responded, 77 percent would offer little to no information if they made a delayed breast cancer diagnosis. In a situation where a breakdown in care coordination had led to a delayed response to a patient’s symptoms, 58 percent would offer little to no explanation, or would make only vague references to the situation. More than half of those same physicians would offer no form of apology, or would only provide a vague expression of regret for the harm that had been done.

Even more concerning is that, of the physicians who said they would offer disclosure, most said they would still only provide partial disclosure after the adverse events. Sadly, this can lead to just as many issues for patients as a lack of disclosure. Of course, not all directly affect future patient care, but all can and often do lead to feelings of anger or stress for the patient. This is partly because most patients pick up on the mistake, or at least suspect it, and then become angered that their doctor did not take accountability. This may, in some instances, exacerbate their condition.

Contact Our Experienced San Jose Medical Malpractice Lawyers

If you or someone you love has been adversely affected by a medical mistake, Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, LLP can help. Dedicated to your family’s best interests, we will fight to ensure you are compensated for the harm done to you. We will protect your rights and pursue the most favorable outcome possible. Schedule a consultation with our seasoned San Jose medical malpractice lawyers to learn more. Call (408) 289-1417 today.

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My experience with Attorney Brad Corsiglia during my recent medical malpractice case was nothing short of amazing given the very stressful circumstances. I was fortunate to find Brad highly recommended from a mutual contact and from the very beginning of the process, Brad was truly engaged and knowledgeable in understanding my case and providing input on what avenues were available to me. Michelle M.