A surgeon who was called to the stand to vouch for a partner's expertise has admitted to lying to protect him. Though there is no way to tell if his testimony affected the final outcome of the trial, the doctor says that he is haunted by his actions. Other medical professionals are now coming forward with stories of their own.
Skills in Question
After a patient suffered a stroke following an operation, Dr. Lars Aanning became concerned about his colleague's work. Dr. Aanning is now retired and wrote about his experience for a patient safety advocacy group. When a patient ended up with a permanent disability, he felt as if it may have been the result of his partner's lack of skills. He is now working with medical malpractice lawyers to help them with their cases.
Lying to Protect Colleagues
Just how often doctors lie during medical malpractice cases is unknown. Many doctors and nurses admit that they fear retaliation if they speak out to advocate for patients. Dr. Aanning suggests that there is a pervasive culture throughout the medical community that keeps professionals from telling the truth when they feel that another practitioner is unskilled.
Professional organizations and societies like the AMA ask their members to be patient advocates in all circumstances. The responsibility to the profession is often overshadowed by the need to maintain relationships with peers, however. Some doctors are coming out after retirement when they feel that they no longer have to worry about these loyalties.
Healthcare professionals who deviate from the accepted norm of medical practice and cause harm to their patients may be subject to a medical malpractice lawsuit. Patients that have been injured because of the negligence of a medical professional can seek compensation via legal action to help cover medical costs, lost wages and pain and suffering.
Though some medical malpractice claims are settled out of court, a trial may be required. Some doctors feel like the courtroom is not always fair to plaintiffs. Jurys and judges respect doctors and sometimes find it difficult to believe that they would lie. Now that prominent medical professionals are beginning to come forward, others may follow. Having the support of the medical community is a definite benefit to medical malpractice lawyers and the clients that they represent.