If you’re a patient who has suffered injuries due to errors during a surgery, you may believe that it’s in your medical provider’s best interests to admit the mistake, try to correct it and to apologize. If nothing else, showing this humility is something that you’d like to see.
The trouble is that today’s medical culture highly encourages medical providers to be cautious when admitting mistakes. Doing so could lead to medical malpractice lawsuits that they can’t win, which threatens their livelihoods. Even if a provider is truly apologetic and knows they made a mistake, they may never admit it to patients, but that’s a significant problem.
Why won’t medical providers take responsibility for mistakes?
In a study that was conducted by a national team of researchers, it was found that around 70 percent of the physicians who took the survey would not provide full details about the incident. In fact, they would provide “limited apologies or no apologies, no explanation or a limited explanation or no information about what caused the mistake.” Also interesting is the fact that the providers may not admit a mistake to a patient just because it “wasn’t that serious.”
The reality is that many medical providers don’t admit to mistakes because of one simple reason: They don’t want to be involved in malpractice lawsuits. It’s not just egotistical. It’s also a way to preserve their ability to practice medicine.
“Honesty is the best policy”
The trouble with this is that not admitting to mistakes means that some may not be known about. This hurts patients and the ability of the provider and others to prevent those mistakes in the future. By admitting mistakes, everyone in a hospital or clinical setting can learn from them. If you’re not willing to admit to mistakes, then no one learns from them.
It’s believed that the result of being unwilling to admit to mistakes is a medical culture that causes around 250,000 deaths each year. This has caused medical errors to be a leading cause of death in the United States. While some physicians do choose to admit when they make serious medical mistakes and apologize for those errors, not all do.
As a patient, you should take steps to make sure you’re getting the best care and care without errors. If you are worried that a mistake took place, listen carefully to the explanation of what happened. If it’s passive or seems too general, bring your attorney on board to get a better feel for the case.