Your recent surgery in New Jersey went well, at least you think it did. The truth of the matter is that while your surgeon may inform you of a surgical error, she or he may not share whether the mistake was foreseeable.
CBS News studied a survey surrounding surgical errors and how medical professionals handle them. Understand how surgeons think to better determine if you have a potential lawsuit on your hands.
In the surgeon survey, shared in the JAMA Surgery peer-reviewed medical journal, most of the participants said they disclosed the fact to patients that an error happened during surgery. That said, only roughly half of the participants said they discussed whether they could have prevented the mistake.
Impact on surgeons
One reason a surgeon may hesitate in sharing the existence of surgical errors with patients is that such a disclosure can cripple a medical professional’s confidence and abilities, as well as make the surgeon anxious about the patient’s medical outcome.
Error disclosure policy
If you have an upcoming surgery, you may want to consider having the procedure done at a medical facility that has an error disclosure policy. Such policies make it so that surgeons do not face disciplinary action for sharing the existence of an error. Even then, it is still a good idea to remain extra vigilant about a potential error, as disclosure policies are not a guarantee of 100% transparency.
Preparing the next generation
To make it easier for the next generation of surgeons to disclose surgical errors, medical schools offer classes on informing patients of such errors. The hope is that future doctors and surgeons can handle adverse events with confidence.
This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.