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Will Your Doctor Admit to a Medical Error?

When you go to the doctor, you expect them to be upfront and honest with you. The interests of your doctor should be to help you, even if the doctor you're seeing is checking up on a previous diagnosis from another doctor. So, would it surprise you to learn that this isn't always what happens?

Will My Doctor Tell Me When There's Been a Medical Error?

Doctor Douglas Roblin is a Professor at Georgia State University's health management and policy division, but he is also a researcher of physician behavior. He's a part of the Center for Clinical and Outcomes Research at Kaiser Permanente Georgia where he studies how effectively doctors communicate with patients. So, Dr. Roblin and his fellow researchers examine what doctors do in certain situations, but their latest study turned up some scary findings.

According to a survey Dr. Roblin conducted, your doctor isn't likely to tell you when a medical error has occurred. Researchers discovered this by giving doctors two scenarios. The first was a case of delayed diagnosis of breast cancer, the second was a coordination breakdown that caused a delayed response to patient symptoms. In both cases, the majority of doctors would only give partial or no explanations of what went wrong. They also wouldn't give clear apologies for any mistakes that happened in these scenarios.

Dr. Roblin says that full disclosure, apologies, and a commitment to prevent recurrences have been the standard for dealing with medical errors for the last decade. So, why did only a few of the 333 doctors that participated in this survey do that? Log on to our Twitter and Facebook pages to tell us what you think. You can also learn even more about delayed diagnosis by following our Macon medical malpractice attorneys right here on our blog.

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