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Physicians reluctant to report other doctors' errors

Houston residents believe that their doctors are doing their very best to make sure their patients are receiving safe and effective treatment. Still, doctor errors do occur and one study points to medical errors being the third leading cause of death in the United States behind heart disease and cancer.

Sometimes, a physician's error is caught by another physician. Many times patients don't know when their doctor has made an error but other doctors see it. Unfortunately, the physician who spots the error rarely reports it to the patient or to the original doctor. There are many reasons why doctors might not report the errors. These include the possibility of losing referrals, fear of hostility, not wanting to take the time to unravel what happened, wary of becoming entangled in medical malpractice cases and issues related to cultural differences such as race or gender. Sadly for the patient, staying silent means that these doctors are not learning from their mistakes and that patients may not be receiving proper treatment or compensation if they are harmed by these errors.

Patients who are hurt by doctor errors may find themselves in a worsened condition. They may suffer more physical ailments, even death, along with additional medical expenses. A family who is going through these circumstances because of a negligent physician may want to contact a legal professional who is skilled in medical malpractice. The legal professional can help the family sort out what happened, what went wrong and whose fault it was. They can help collect maximum compensation for their damages.

Physicians who fail to diagnose ailments, make mistakes with surgeries, read an ultrasound incorrectly, etc. should be held accountable for their actions. Medical errors, including a failure to diagnose properly, are a major cause of death for Americans. Holding physicians and medical professionals accountable for their actions is important in making sure everyone stays safe.

Source: philly.com, "Why doctors stay quiet about mistakes their colleagues make," Marshall Allen, Nov. 8, 2013

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