The practice of medicine involves complex terminology and unfamiliar concepts so that the practice of healing appears to go on in a “black box” where the cause-effect relationship is difficult to perceive and understand. Patients often take their medicine or accept the explanations of doctors without a clear understanding of ambiguous explanations or probing questions. This passive approach can result in patients who are injured or killed because of medical errors or omissions never learning they have been victimized by substandard medical care. In this blog, our New York medical malpractice attorneys explain why many silent, unknowing victims of medical malpractice might fail to realize they have a right to financial compensation for harm caused by substandard medical care.
While many people think that medical malpractice almost never occurs, the truth can be disturbing. A study published in the BMJ medical journal found that “medical errors” in hospitals and similar health care facilities constituted the third leading cause of death in the U.S., which amounts to 251,000 fatalities per year. These statistics do not even include medical mistakes that occur in other settings like private medical practices and urgent care facilities. The upward trajectory of the data suggests patient safety standards might be declining. The number of deaths linked to deficient medical practices has increased more than a 150 percent since a similar study was published by the Institute of Medicine over 15 years ago.
While patients who suffer a worse medical outcome because of medical errors or omissions might have a right to financial compensation, new research suggests health care professionals might be less than candid about disclosing errors. A recent article published in Health Affairs medical journal discussed a study involving 1,900 practicing physicians to determine their compliance with the duty of doctors to communicate with patients openly and honestly. Approximately a third of physicians in the study did not “completely agree” that they should disclose “serious medical errors” to patients. One in five of the physicians indicated that it would be acceptable to lie to patients about this information in some situations.
If you or someone you love has suffered an unanticipated poor medical outcome, you should speak to an experienced New York medical malpractice lawyer at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP. Medical terminology and even medical records can be difficult to decipher. It is difficult for patients and their families to determine whether medical negligence caused a poor outcome. Consequently, the Health Affairs study is concerning because it suggests patients cannot blindly trust the explanations they receive from their doctors for adverse incidents related to their diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation.
If you suspect you or a family member has been the victim of medical negligence, you might have a right to compensation in a civil lawsuit. Contact an experienced Long Island medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to have your claim reviewed. Be aware that there is a statute of limitations for filing a claim, so it is recommended you act quickly. Contact the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP today for a free consultation at 516-358-6900.