Western medicine certainly has its benefits when it comes to emergency care, as advancements in technology are generally effective when it comes to saving one’s life in the event of traumatic injury. Preventative care, on the other hand, is essentially nonexistent in most Western nations. Simple, every day treatments aren’t all that safe, either.
Treatments such as pharmaceutical drug prescriptions, routine dental checkups and non-life threatening surgeries often turn out to be just that: life threatening. Harm caused by medical error is a lot more common than you might think.
In fact, an estimated 1.6 million Americans have died as a result of medical errors over the last decade and a half. In fact, death via medical error is so common, that it’s now considered the third leading cause of death in the U.S., below heart disease and cancer.
Hospital mistakes third leading cause of death
Hospital deaths purported to be accidental show no immediate signs of decline, either, because as it turns out, doctors aren’t too concerned about it.
The rise in these particular types of deaths prompted researchers from the department of Veterans Affairs at Boston University to take a closer look, and what they found may disturb you.
Only 55 percent of surgeons actually apologize for botching up a surgery, while the remaining 45 percent never give it a second thought, according to reporting by the Daily Mail.
Yes, you read that correctly. Nearly half of doctors don’t apologize for doing a bad job. Why you might ask? Well, because they are just too damn proud.
Doctors too proud to admit they screwed up
Making mistakes is too “difficult for the physician to admit to the patient,” said study author Dr. Thomas Gallagher.
“For a long time in the field, people thought the primary reason physicians have trouble reporting adverse events is they were worried about being sued, but there are other barriers that are more important.”
The 21-question survey administered to 67 specialist surgeons from three medical centers, revealed that 13 percent of doctors do not feel any regret for the mistakes made during surgery.
Unsurprisingly, a large majority do not discuss how to avoid repeating those same mistakes, either. Slightly more than half of doctors said they discuss whether or not the medical error could have been prevented.
The research, published in the journal JAMA Surgery, sought to understand “how embarrassing and upsetting these events are for clinicians,” failing to mention what patients and their families must be going through.
Doctors who don’t reflect on mistakes suffer emotionally
But, according to the survey, doctors who do not reflect on their mistakes are ultimately impacted emotionally.
“Surgeons with more negative attitudes about disclosure were more anxious about patients’ surgical outcomes or events following an operation.”
U.S. law requires doctors to fully disclose the occurrence of “adverse events or unanticipated outcomes” to patients, as well as to their family members. The survey found that the majority of them followed five of the eight recommended disclosure techniques, including:
• Explaining why it happened – 92 percent
• Expressing regret for what happened – 87 percent
• Expressing concern for the patient’s welfare – 95 percent
• Disclosing the adverse event within 24 hours – 97 percent
• Discussing steps taken to treat any subsequent problems – 98 percent
“The other three were: apologising to patients (55 per cent), discussing whether the error was preventable (55 per cent) and discussing how it could be stopped from ever happening again (32 per cent).”
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