Why Doctors Don’t Report Medical Errors

According to advocates of so-called tort reform, doctors don’t report medical errors for fear of medical malpractice lawsuits. However, a new study commissioned by the Center for Justice and Democracy points to two other factors that influence doctors’ behavior in not reporting medical mistakes. According to the report, doctors may fail to recognize the harm done to a patient by a medical error. They also may assume that someone else will report the error. When researchers took a look at the behavior of Canadian doctors and found similar results in failure to report medical errors, the researchers were able to conclude that such failure stems from a medical culture that frowns on admitting to anything short of perfection.
This study is significant because it is data driven and the research is solid. It may still face opposition from tort reform advocates simply because they disagree with the results. However, facts are stubborn things.