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The Medical Profession Needs to Rethink How Doctors Handle Mistakes

October 12th, 2019
By Zach Christiansen of The Bowling Law Firm, A Professional Law Corporation on Friday, October 12, 2018.

JACKSON, Mississippi. Doctors are human beings. As such, it is inevitable that they will make mistakes over the course of their careers. When we visit our doctors, we expect the highest standards of care, and our doctors owe us a high standard of care. But what happens when doctors make errors? Sometimes the fear of lawsuits leads doctors to avoid admitting to an error, but some research has shown that apologies and acknowledgement can help doctors and their patients reach better settlements after damaging accidents have occured. Unfortunately, the fear of lawsuits leaves many doctors without the ability to apologize, and this leaves both doctors and patients struggling to make sense of the aftermath.

Fortunately, more doctors and hospitals are now starting to talk about medical errors and mistakes. One doctor, writing for the New York Times, explored how medical mistakes impact patients, but also how they impact the doctors who make the error. After all, doctors go into the medical field to help patients. There is a particular horror in learning that your actions may have hurt another person. Doctors and hospital staff will often discuss what went wrong after a medical error occurs. This helps doctor and staff assess what went wrong and prevent similar mistakes from happening in the future. When doctors and staff fail to do this, gaps in care can remain open and mistakes can happen again. However, doctors sometimes struggle if they cannot apologize for their errors, especially if hospital policies might prevent them from doing so. While apologies are generally not admissible in medical malpractice lawsuits, doctors might be wary to admit any error.

According to ACEP Now, medical errors can be put into three classifications. There are medical errors that lead to serious injury or death, minor errors that cause no major damage, and near-misses, where a serious error might have occurred, but proper intervention strategies prevented it from happening. According to a study, as many as 56% of doctors may have been involved in a medical case involving a serious error. The vast majority of patients, 98%, prefer to have their doctors openly discuss medical errors. When medical errors are covered up or hidden from patients, not only do patients feel violated because they have a right to know about their care, but the lawsuits that could follow could be much more serious.

Have you suffered complications as a result of a medical error? Did your doctor apologize? The The Bowling Law Firm are medical malpractice lawyers in Jackson, Mississippi who help patients who have been seriously injured after suffering from a medical error. In some cases, patients can reach out of court settlements with their doctors, but sometimes doctors and hospitals may not admit their mistakes. When serious injuries are involved, it can be helpful to have a qualified medical malpractice lawyer on your side. Contact the The Bowling Law Firm today to learn more.

The Bowling Law Firm, A Professional Law Corporation

1615 Poydras Street, Suite 1050

New Orleans, Louisiana, 70112

Phone: (504) 586-5200

Toll Free: (504) 586-5200

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