A study by the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services has found that doctors and hospitals are reporting only 14 percent of their mistakes when caring for Medicare patients, raising disturbing questions about accountability and quality of care in the nation’s medical facilities.
A Clear Attempt To Avoid Responsibility
To err is human. The problem is, unlike most professionals, when doctors mess up, people die.
Also like most people, doctors don’t like to admit their mistakes — and the stakes of taking responsibility for negative outcomes are much higher than for your average office drone. Doctor error can expose health workers to millions in liability for malpractice and wrongful death, so they have even greater incentive to brush their “oops” moments under the proverbial rug. Indeed, last week’s survey results made it clear that under reporting of error has reached epidemic proportions.
“The survey demonstrates a clear attempt on the part of doctors to avoid responsibility for their actions,” says Illinois attorney John Perconti. “Reporting may have negative consequences to credentialing as well as exposure to a third party claims. For these reasons, I am not surprised these errors are being under reported.”
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