Few surgeons apologize for medical errors, study finds

Few surgeons apologize to patients after a mishap occurs during surgery, according to a new study published in JAMA Surgery.

More than 60 surgeons at three different Veterans Affairs medical centers completed a web-based survey for the study. The majority of surgeons surveyed said they followed most of the recommended disclosure practices regarding medical errors.

However, only 55 percent said they apologized to the patient or discussed whether the error was preventable.

Researchers also found that those who failed to mention preventive tactics and who commented on the seriousness of the error were negatively affected by the experience and were more likely to exhibit anxiety before or after an operation.

Medical errors as a whole are the third leading cause of death in the U.S., topped by only cancer and heart disease.

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