This essay is rather startling. Is it possible that some doctors do not want to “tattle” or point out a colleague’s mistake because it can dry up referral sources and impact a doctor’s earning potential?
“For the NEJM report, Gallagher led a team of 15 experts who discussed the problem. They identified many reasons why doctors may want to stay silent about errors by their peers.
One is that doctors depend on each other for business. So a physician who breaks the code of silence may become known as a tattler and lose referrals, a financial penalty. Or maybe they aren’t sure exactly what happened to the patient and don’t want to take the time to try and unravel it. In some cases, issues related to cultural differences, gender, race and seniority come into play.”
It is important we note that the issue of referrals and so forth (loss of income) is not the only reason or the sole reason for this reluctance on the part of some doctors to not point out a significant mistake on the part of a colleague. Still, in the real world we know that economics touches almost everything. Clearly, there is also the issue of “getting along” and not wanting to get involved in a potential medical malpractice matter.
Here is the greater problem however:
“The bottom line: Too often doctors aren’t learning from errors, Gallagher said. Nor are patients getting the information they need to receive proper treatment or compensation when the outcome is harmful, he said.
Even after patients do learn about an error, the lack of communication by doctors often continues.
Almost 400 people who have completed the ProPublica Patient Harm Questionnaire, and more than 1,800 are members of ProPublica’s Patient Harm Facebook Community. Many reported that they experienced the silent treatment from doctors after experiencing harm during medical care.”
This “silent” treatment is one reason the Mitchell Law Group exists. We will not allow a doctor, group of doctors, or hospital to remain silent if the evidence is such that significant and catastrophic errors were committed. Silence is not an option.