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Are patients told the truth about surgical errors?

Numerous studies have been done over the years regarding the lack of transparency on the part of medical professionals here in Delaware and elsewhere when a mistake is made. Their conclusions indicate that doctors and surgeons are hesitant to come forward regarding their mistakes. To make matters worse, a retired doctor says that their colleagues and other medical professionals are just as hesitant to admit that a doctor is capable of surgical errors.

At one time, the doctor was put in an untenable position. He lied regarding the surgical expertise of a colleague in a medical malpractice case. He says that he did so because that was what was expected of him. Other sources say that doctors and nurses are hesitant to point out a doctor or surgeon's mistakes for fear of retaliation -- even when they have serious doubts about the safety of the patients involved.

Unfortunately, there is no way to know how often mistakes are kept from patients. Furthermore, it is nearly impossible to quantify how many doctors or other medical professionals might have falsely vouched for a doctor's expertise in a medical malpractice case. In some cases, such falsehoods might have influenced the outcome of those cases, but there is just no way to be sure.

The fact is that any doctor -- regardless of how good they might be, can make surgical errors. Since the odds are that a patient -- or a deceased patient's family -- might not be made aware of the mistake, Delaware residents who suspect that something went wrong during an operation would more than likely benefit from talking to an attorney as soon as possible to determine whether it would be appropriate to file a medical malpractice claim. With the appropriate evidence, no amount of testimony from other doctors regarding a surgeon's abilities should deny an injured patient, or the family of a deceased patient, the right to restitution for what happened.

Source: npr.org, "Doctor Confesses: I Lied To Protect Colleague In Malpractice Suit", Marshall Allen, Sept. 23, 2016

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