Physicians rarely apologize after patient adverse events, survey finds

Most patients who experience an adverse event in the hospital receive neither an acknowledgment of the incident nor an apology from the physician, according to a study based on a ProPublica survey and published in the Journal of Patient Safety.

According to the survey, just 9 percent of patients who experienced an adverse event said the medical organization voluntarily disclosed the harm, and 9 percent of patients said the organization only disclosed because it was forced to.

Additionally, only 11.4 percent of patients or family members said the provider apologized to them for the medical mistake.

Nearly 43 percent of harms were reported to an oversight agency, and nearly 20 percent of events resulted in a malpractice claim.

More than 30 percent of those surveyed said they paid the bills related to the harm, with the average cost equaling approximately $14,000.

The survey drew 236 responses over a one-year survey period.

More articles on adverse events:

Handoff program can reduce medical errors 23%, study finds
5 ways automation can help reduce adverse events in labor and delivery
Boulder Community Health responds to waiting room patient safety concerns


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