It’s said that art imitates life, but that is a scary thing to contemplate for those who have watched the FOX television drama, The Resident. The show depicts the fictional Chastain Park Memorial Hospital in Atlanta and its medical doctors and residents.

The pilot opened with the hospital’s chief of surgery, Dr. Randolph Bell, badly botching a supposedly routine appendectomy. Due to an uncontrollable tremor in the surgeon’s hand, he severs the patient’s artery, causing him to bleed out right there in the operating room.

But perhaps even worse, the operating room team members conspire with the surgeon to cover up the surgical error and pass it off in their reports.

Sadly, this scenario replicates itself in countless real-life operating rooms all over the country every day. Surgeons make egregious errors for all sorts of reasons that never get truthfully reported. Their patients’ deaths and unnecessary surgical complications get swept under the rug in order to avoid destroying a surgeon’s career.

That’s problematic for many reasons, primarily that it denies justice to the injured patient and the survivors of the deceased. But it also allows doctors to continue operating who need to be benched. No one wants a surgeon to operate on them who is no longer physically or mentally at the top of their game.

Sadly, the doctor’s own hubris, the unwillingness of the medical team to be viewed as a problematic whistleblower and the facilities’ reluctance to be drawn into litigation all coalesce to make it far more convenient or lucrative to engage in a cover-up.

But that doesn’t make it right. If you know or suspect that a surgeon’s error caused or contributed to your worsened condition, you can seek civil justice through the civil court system.