If a doctor in New York City misdiagnosed you, botched your surgery or in some other way caused harm to you, at the very least you would like to hear them acknowledge their mistake and apologize. However, many doctors avoid doing this, even if you pursue a medical malpractice case against them. This is significant, as according to one report, medical errors cause 250,000 fatalities every year, and are the third leading cause of death in the U.S.
What is the likelihood a physician would refuse to take responsibility?
One study examined over 300 primary care physicians in order to see how they would act to two hypothetical scenarios. The first scenario posed a delayed diagnosis of breast cancer. The second scenario posed a delayed diagnosis due to a breakdown in the coordination of care. Over 70% of physician respondents stated they would only provide a limited apology or no apology at all and would provide limited to no information about the cause. Ultimately, physicians took it upon themselves to determine whether a medical error was serious enough to warrant letting the injured patient know of it.
Medical culture promotes avoidance of admitting medical errors
There is a culture in the medical industry of avoiding admitting mistakes, generally due to the fear of being sued for medical malpractice. In addition, the system of accountability supports physicians who ignore problems or place the blame elsewhere. While many physicians will not outright lie, they may resort to half-truths or omissions. Unfortunately, the refusal to admit to mistakes makes us less likely to trust our physicians.
What to do if you think you have been the victim of a medical mistake?
If you believe your doctor has made a mistake in your medical care, you do have options. You can take what your physician is saying, and ask questions when things seem foggy or unclear. You can also seek a second opinion, especially if your physician refers to the incident as an “accident” or “unfortunate outcome.” In such situations you may even consider taking legal action against the negligent physician. This post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Those in New York City who want to learn more about medical malpractice are encouraged to explore our firm’s website for further information.