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Will your surgeon tell you if (s)he makes an error?

| Jun 25, 2019 | Surgical Errors

When you have to undergo a surgical procedure in New York, you fully expect that your surgeon and everyone else on your surgical team will do their jobs in a professional and competent manner. You do not expect that anyone will make an error that injures you or makes you sicker than you were prior to the surgery.

Unfortunately, however, medical errors often occur in the surgical suite. Even more alarming, according to a CBS News report, your surgeon may not even tell you if one occurred prior to, during or after your surgery

Recent survey results

When surgeons across the country were recently surveyed regarding if and when they informed patients about surgical errors, only 62.5% of them said they give the following information afterwards to their patients and the patients’ families:

  • The nature of the error
  • How the error happened
  • Why the error occurred
  • Their distress level over the error
  • Their level of concern about the error’s effect on their patient
  • Their plan of action should their patient suffer negative consequences due to the error

Keep in mind that national guidelines advise surgeons and other health care professionals to fully disclose all medical errors to the affected patients and their families. The guidelines also advise medical professionals to apologize to the affected patients for the error’s occurrence. Nevertheless, of the surgeons surveyed, barely over half (55%) said they made such apologies.

Given these less than encouraging survey results, your best strategy after undergoing a surgical procedure consists of specifically asking your surgeon if anyone on the surgical team made a mistake prior to, during, or after your surgery. It is highly unlikely that your surgeon will outright lie to you in answering this question.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.

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