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Medical Culture Encourages Doctors to Avoid Admitting Mistakes Reporting Medical Errors to Improve Patient Safety

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Each year, 250,000 patients die from medical errors - more than motor and air crashes, suicides, falls, poisonings, and drownings combined - according to John Hopkins published research. Medical error is the third leading cause of death in the United States, yet a study shows most doctors would not tell patients or accept responsibility for their mistakes.

A report published in the journal BMJ Quality and Safety reveals that over 70 percent of doctors surveyed would give minimal or no explanation or information about the cause of the error. A majority of respondents would also not apologize or offer patients a limited apology. Among reasons for not disclosing errors are doctors do not perceive themselves as responsible, they view errors as not serious, and lack of value for patient-centered communication.

Underlying all these reasons is the environment in medicine that encourages doctors to avoid admitting mistakes. A former neurosurgeon and attorney, Lawrence Schlachter, says that this is usually on the pretense of fear of malpractice lawsuits, but what's really at risk are doctors' egos and the preservation of a system that lets physicians avoid accountability by ignoring problems or shifting blame to "the system" or anyone other than themselves.

The safety of patients should be a never cease to be priority because of doctor's concern for his/her reputation. If you or someone you know have been a victim of medical malpractice, contact the attorneys at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz by calling 713-222-7211 or toll-free at 1-800-870-9584.

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