Medical errors often not disclosed to patients and families

Arizona patients may be aware that complications can take place when they are receiving health care. A report from ProPublica, however, has shown that medical facilities rarely disclose any medical errors that may have occurred.

The report showed that, of the more than 1,000 individuals who reported that harm had occurred, only 20 percent stated that the health care facility or provider disclosed the error. However, 50 percent of the disclosures only resulted as a result of pressure from the harmed person or the harmed person’s family. Very few of those who were harmed as a result of the medical errors stated that they received an apology from the health care providers.

A University of Texas Medical School patient safety expert stated that the results from ProPublica’s questionnaire indicated that patients were not being told about errors that could affect them. Additionally, the perpetuation of harm also meant that general health care was not improving. In fact, a 2013 publication showed that the third-leading cause of death in the United States was medical errors.

Medical complications could potentially result in serious harm that could impact the affected patient’s life. In the event that the complication was the result of medical professional negligence, such a patient may want to meet with a medical malpractice attorney in order to determine the type of remedies that may be available. Legal counsel can review the patient’s hospital records and obtain the opinion of medical experts in order to determine whether there was negligence on the part of the health care practitioner or facility. If so, it then may be advisable to seek appropriate damages through the filing of a medical malpractice lawsuit against the at-fault party or parties.