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Breaking the code of silence after a doctor error


Every Pennsylvania resident makes mistakes from time to time. The important thing, as is often said, is for individuals to learn from their mistakes to prevent making them again in the future.

Of course, some mistakes are more serious than others. A medical mistake made by a doctor can end up changing a patient's life forever, leaving the patient scarred with severe injuries or battling a disease that should have been diagnosed at a far earlier time. Making matters worse, it is apparent that hospitals and other organizations do not always want to learn from a doctor error.

According to one nationally known patient advocate, hospitals and providers frequently have bad reactions when presented with patient's questions or requests. Even when responding to simple requests like asking the doctor to wash his or her hands, the doctor may react negatively or be offended.

When more serious issues arise, there is often a code of silence that permeates the hospital, as caregivers do not want to make any statements that might be used against them in a medical malpractice action. The advocate has urged hospitals to not only answer questions and fully provide information, but to apologize to patients who have been injured by medical errors.

While hospitals' refusal to provide information can make it more difficult for the patient to fully understand what happened, the patient may be able to obtain this information in a medical negligence suit. Through investigation and discovery, patients may be able to hold doctors accountable for their mistakes and learn the true story of what went wrong in their care.

Source: The State Journal-Register, "Victim of medical error encourages patience, humility when serving patients," Dean Olsen, Sept. 21, 2016

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