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When doctors are honest about medical mistakes

Many Oklahoma patients understand that doctors may not be eager to discuss medical mistakes when they occur. However, there are institutions that are stepping up to the plate to report errors in order to allow their medical staff to learn from their errors.

A study showed that medical errors, communication breakdowns and diagnostic errors cause between 200,000 and 400,000 deaths every year in the U.S.. There are many reasons that errors go unreported, from procedures gone wrong to a misdiagnosis to delayed treatment. Many of these errors are never actually reported to the patient, meaning that family members may be unaware of what actually caused the death of their loved one.

It is not surprising that many patients do not trust their doctors. One doctor found that, by being truthful and apologizing to a patient for an error that was committed, he was able to earn back her trust. Even better, he was able to discuss how the error occurred with other colleagues. This way, they would not make the same mistake and would potentially be able to better diagnose other patients in the future. Further, the institution that he worked at made it easy to report other errors, including materials that were missing labels, falls and even wrong vaccines.

A fatal medical error can leave a family in serious debt on top of causing them to lose a loved one. If there is evidence that medical malpractice caused the person's death, an attorney may assist with filing a medical malpractice lawsuit seeking appropriate compensation from the doctor who made the error and the institution or practice where the error occurred.

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