When was the last time you discovered that one of your coworkers made a
mistake and decided to not do something about it? Most of the time, we
need not be concerned about coworkers overlooking the slipups of their
colleagues, but when it comes to medical practitioners, those mistakes
could jeopardize a patient’s health.
The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) has warned in an
article that doctors may be likely to keep quiet when they find a colleague’s
error on a patient chart. This “mums the word” attitude endangers
patients, as mistakes go uncorrected and so do negligent behaviors. Why
would doctors want to zip their lips when so much is on the line, then?
A few reasons doctors might choose to ignore a colleague’s mistakes include:
Referrals: Many doctors make their name and paycheck thanks to the referrals of other
doctors and hospitals in the area or within a medical institution. Bringing
up another doctor’s mistake to them, or to a superior, could easily
break that referral source and the referrals will stop coming.
No time: Some doctors might not have the time to look into the error they found
to see if it is real or harmful. They have busy schedules, so it could
be possible that some find it easier to just turn a blind eye rather than
spend their valuable time investigating the error.
Hostility: Like any other occupation, medical practitioners are part of a workplace
environment with other people in their field. If they start pointing out
peoples’ mistakes, they could start to feel coworker hostility.
No one wants to go to work if they don’t feel welcome there.
Uneasiness: Spotting a medical error could be the beginning of a lengthy medical malpractice
case once word reaches the afflicted patient. Testimony may be required
from the doctor that first discovered the mistake. In order to avoid getting
caught up in that legal scene and lose valuable time to days spent in
court trials and depositions, a doctor could decide not to do anything.
Speaking Up When Doctors Won’t
With doctors possibly-inclined to “watch each other’s backs”
when it comes to medical errors, it is up to some patients and their families
to catch the mistakes and take legal action. If you have been harmed by
the negligence of your doctor or a hospital, seek the counsel of Brett
H. Oppenheimer, PLLC, our firm’s
Kentucky medical malpractice attorney in Louisville. With more than 25 years of personal injury law experience
and $100+ million won for clients, you can trust us to provide the top-tier
representation you need and deserve.
online today to set up a free and confidential consultation.