When physicians fail to acknowledge their mistakes, they place current and future patients at risk for serious complications and preventable deaths. When doctors fail to disclose their errors, injured parties and their survivors have the right to pursue medical malpractice claims against the physician, their employer, the clinic, or the hospital where they provided services.
When Mistakes Lead to Injury
There are many mistakes that can lead to serious injuries with potentially fatal consequences. These include failure to properly assess a patient’s health, failure to request and perform the appropriate medical tests, and failure to treat a known health condition in a timely manner.
Physicians can also fail to properly inform a patient of their treatment options, fail to notify the patient of risks associated with a particular treatment, or fail to refer a patient to a qualified specialist.
Some of the most egregious mistakes physicians make involve failing to treat a patient due to a lack of insurance or the fact the patient is with “the wrong” insurance provider. Physicians may also be under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of treating a patient which impairs their judgment and can cause them to miss data on medical records or within test results.
When medical errors occur, they can result in misdiagnosis and delayed treatment. In some cases, such as the development and progression of cancers, the consequences of a medical error can be fatal.
The Standard of Care
Physicians are required to maintain a high standard of care for all of their patients. Patients have a reasonable right to expect their physician will provide treatment at a level that is on par with others within the medical profession with the same level of experience, education, and training.
When doctors do not maintain the expected standard of care and patients are injured, recent studies reveal that more than 70% would try to conceal their role in the medical error, minimize the incident, and offer little to no information about the mistake. Most wouldn’t even apologize.
When physicians shift blame or ignore problems altogether, patient well-being takes a backseat to doctors’ egos. Fortunately, punitive damages may be sought in medical malpractice lawsuits where the at-fault physician fails to disclose and correct an error and serious injury or death results.