Should Doctors Admit Medical Mistakes?

Mistakes do happen in the field of medicine. These mistakes may be due to wrong technique, incorrect assumption, lack of knowledge, and sometimes carelessness. What the cause of error is, there is a possibility that a patient’s health may suffer.

SyringeThe Possibility of Errors

Although all doctors aim for the recovery of every patient they treat, all medical procedures have their own possibility of error. No matter how a procedure is carefully performed, the likelihood of mistake is still persistent. Sometimes, medical tests can lead to false results or unnecessary operations, which can carry different complications.

As medical errors can undermine the doctor’s authority, health professionals are left concerned. Doctors are even worried that their mistakes might lead to malpractice lawsuits. As some doctors don’t have personal malpractice insurance, they are worried that slip-ups can ruin the career they worked hard for years.

Admitting Mistakes

Learning to disclose mistakes as a team, however, is a great way to work together effectively. According to an article in the New York Times, it is important for doctors to have a consistent gathering to talk about their mistakes. The best thing they can do is learn from the mistake and reduce future errors in the process.

The Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) suggests that physicians should make every effort to meet the patient’s need for the information of nature and prevention of errors. Health institutions should also address the need of doctors involved in errors.

Furthermore, a full disclosure after a medical error can improve patient satisfaction. A study from the Journal of Internal Medicine noted that telling a patient a mistake was made might enhance doctor-patient relationship. Disclosing errors may also result in a positive emotional response.

Despite a doctor’s best effort, unfortunate things can still happen. It is important to be prepared in case the unexpected occurs. Apart from obtaining medical malpractice insurance, doctors need to improve communication with their patients to avoid future errors. Hospitals need to introduce a program that encourages conversation, even if the mistake is just minor. This can create a supportive environment and resolve future issues.