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How can doctors learn from their mistakes if no one reports them?

| Dec 13, 2013 | Surgical Errors

From a very young age most people in Boston are taught to appreciate constructive criticism. While it may sometimes sting, when an individual makes an error, he or she should know about it, or how else will he or she avoid that error in the future? When a single error can cause serious health concerns, however, it is even more important to know about it. Unfortunately, as we have talked about in a recent article, many doctors are reluctant to point out each other’s mistakes.

In the article, we cited studies in which it was noted that doctors believe they have a duty to tell patients of the mistakes they’ve made. At the same time, it is clear that doctors do not believe that they must also tell patients about mistakes other doctors have made. Since this can have very serious consequences for a patient’s health, it boggles the mind that doctors would not be more forthcoming about other doctors’ errors.

The article does say that since doctors rely on each other for referrals that it would not make good business sense to report on each other. At the same time, should a doctor’s bottom line compare with the health or life of a patient? It is hard to imagine that many doctors are more concerned with their future revenue streams than they are with the patients they have in front of them.

Unfortunately, this is a reality of the medical field. There are many doctors who do not feel it is their responsibility to tell patients of their colleagues’ mistakes. This can, of course, do more than just affect a patient’s health; it can also make it harder to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.


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