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How silence around a “near-miss” can lead to cases of malpractice

When a medical malpractice case makes the news, it’s because something has usually gone horribly wrong. However, cases involving a “near-miss” rarely attract any attention. In fact, most patients are never aware of how close they came to disaster.

Doctors don’t like to admit that they made a mistake, but this reluctance can come at a cost. One doctor claims that hiding mistakes may result in serious cases of medical malpractice.

Why doctors keep secrets

In a national radio interview, a medical doctor spoke about a near-miss she had when she first started her medical career. The patient ended up being fine. However, the incident left the doctor shaken up. A sense of guilt and shame prevented her from telling anyone about the mistake.

The doctor believes that shame is what keeps others from reporting their mistakes. If mistakes are unreported, it’s impossible to learn from them. This means that one person’s near-miss could very well be another’s direct hit, resulting in serious injury and medical complications.

A mistake alone is not malpractice

It’s important to keep in mind that a near-miss isn’t malpractice in and of itself. To have a malpractice claim, you must show that you suffered actual harm from medical negligence. If you suffered no ill-effects, you would not have a strong claim of medical malpractice. However, you should discuss your options with a skilled legal professional. The more that medical mistakes, including near-misses, are left out in the open, the greater chance that instances of medical malpractice will be reduced.


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