In the world of healthcare, patients regard doctors as trusted professionals. However, doctors are not perfect, and there are times when medical mistakes occur.
The situation becomes even more challenging when doctors fail to disclose the cause of these errors. Patients and their loved ones have the right to know what led to serious mistakes. In cases where medical staff refuse to provide more information, it could point to medical malpractice.
What is medical malpractice?
Identifying medical malpractice requires careful examination of medical guidelines, expert opinions and the circumstances involved. In this case, three factors can help identify medical malpractice.
First, consider whether the practitioner breached their duty to provide competent care. Second, determine whether this breach caused harm. And third, consider whether the harm caused resulted in significant damages.
How can lack of transparency affect patients?
Lack of transparency can have severe consequences for patients:
- Loss of trust – Patients place their trust in their healthcare providers. When physicians hide mistakes, they damage the patient-doctor relationship.
- Delayed treatment – Not knowing about a medical error may delay treatment, which can worsen a patient’s condition
- Emotional distress – Patients and their families may suffer significant emotional distress when left in the dark about a medical error
When doctors fail to disclose their errors, it can be for various reasons. They may be afraid of litigation or have concerns about their reputation. Some simply do not want to admit their mistakes.
What can patients do?
Patients also play a role in this equation. If you suspect a medical error or have concerns about your treatment, it is crucial to communicate with your healthcare provider. Ask questions, seek a second opinion if necessary and do not be afraid to assert your rights as a patient.
According to the World Health Organization, 42.7 million adverse medical events impact hospitalized patients around the globe each year. Doctors are fallible, but their transparency is a major component of high-quality healthcare. Patients must act as their own advocates and feel empowered to seek the truth about their medical care. Ultimately, a healthcare system built on trust and accountability benefits everyone involved.