Many medical malpractice victims often state that they would not have considered filing a lawsuit if the offending physician admitted to his or her mistakes and apologized. That rarely happens, however.
An investigation in Ohio recently revealed that hospitals routinely track medical errors but usually fail to inform the victim that an error has occurred. One patient’s family, for example, reported that surgical gauze was left inside the patient’s stomach. When doctors discovered the error during a second surgery, they did not inform the patient. The patient suffered from a massive infection and died.
Another patient experienced third-degree burns to her face during a procedure to remove a mole. Her doctors never explained what happened to her. She later learned the doctor failed to ask the anesthesiologist to shut off the oxygen before using a tool capable of starting a fire.
In New Hampshire, hospitals are required to report adverse events such as the ones above to the New Hampshire Department of Health & Human Services. Adverse events include, among other things, performing the wrong surgery on a patient, leaving a foreign object in a patient after surgery, patient death or disability as a result of a medical device, discharging an infant home with the wrong person and stage 3 or 4 pressure ulcers. HE-P 802.15. In addition to reporting adverse events to DHHS, doctors owe a duty to their patients to disclose adverse events so that they may seek out adequate care.
Despite this, doctors may not always admit their mistakes when they have done something wrong. That is why medical malpractice lawsuits are an important tool to hold healthcare providers accountable for the negligent care they provide. If you have been injured by a New Hampshire physician, please contact one of our experienced attorneys today to discuss your specific case.