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The importance of admitting mistakes following a surgical error

Most Americans, including those in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, believe that the relationship between patients and their health care provider is built over a strong foundation of trust. Patients know that whenever they feel something wrong with their health, they can always rely on their doctors and other health care providers. However, numerous cases of surgical errors, misdiagnosis and other hospital negligence can cause people to think twice before undergoing a procedure or treatment.

Doctors, surgeons, nurses and other healthcare providers are humans, and as such, are bound to commit mistakes. When a doctor commits a mistake, a patient may sustain severe injuries, suffer from a worsening condition or die as a result. Surgeons should take full responsibility for their mistakes. However, this is not always the case.

Some healthcare providers choose not to disclose what really happened during the procedure, which often leaves the patient and their family looking for answers. Another reason why some surgeons are being discouraged from disclosing surgical errors is the fear of liability. Surgeons who commit mistakes are afraid of possible media involvement, the effects of their actions on their reputation and other liability issues.

Surgeons should learn how to admit mistakes, accept the responsibility and find ways to correct their actions. Sometimes, patients and their families just want answers and closure in order for them to move on with their lives.

Even if doctors apologized for their mistakes, injured patients can still file a medical malpractice lawsuit. But first, patients should gather medical records that can be obtained from the medical facility or hospital where the surgery took place. Next, they can speak with a third party health care provider who can explain their medical records to them. Finally, they may be able to file a legal action against a negligent doctor or hospital.

Source: HCP Live, "Why surgeons should fess up to operative errors," Jeanette Wick, May 7, 2014

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