Physicians Hiding Medical Errors to Protect Themselves From Malpractice Lawsuits
Wichita, KS -- (ReleaseWire) -- 08/03/2015 --There are over 1.5 million victims of medical malpractice each year in the United States, which results in almost 100,000 otherwise preventable deaths (Institute of Medicine). Despite the mandated ethical responsibility of physicians, medical errors that negatively affect patients are not being disclosed. This has resulted in a lack of transparency in medical malpractice cases, where physicians are more concerned with protecting themselves rather than the health and safety of victims.
"Patients have the right to be informed of health conditions under Section 8.12 of the American Medical Association's Code of Medical Ethics (AMA)," says Bradley J. Prochaska, medical malpractice attorney of Prochaska, Howell & Prochaska. "It states that physicians are ethically required to honestly disclose to the patient their medical status without any misleading information. Covering up medical mistakes is a direct violation of the medical industry's code of ethics."
Medical professionals who violate the AMA's code of ethics are putting their own interests above those of the patient. Fear of medical malpractice lawsuits is the main reason why physicians fail to fully disclose medical errors. Many physicians are afraid of negative publicity that can also result in the loss of their medical license or practice. To protect themselves, some physicians fail to completely disclose the error that led to these otherwise preventable injuries. This lack of transparency makes it more difficult for victims to receive fair compensation in a medical malpractice claim.
The lack of communication and training within the medical field itself has also contributed to the non-disclosure of medical errors. In a 2011 survey, 54.8 percent of the participating physicians knew how to report medical errors, while 39.5 percent knew what errors to report (American Medical News). Better communication, reporting, responsibility and accountability among medical professionals can help improve overall patient-centered care.
"Full disclosure of medical errors ultimately benefits both the medical industry and patients," says Prochaska. "Transparency in medical practice claims protects patients, and allows them to reclaim their lives after terrible injuries. Disclosure also holds physicians accountable, while enforcing the credibility of the medical industry's code of ethics. This promotes compassionate patient care, and creates a patient/caregiver system based on trust and open communication."