Honesty Apparently Not Taught In Medical Schools
Category: Seeing Clearly Now
If doctors are not honest about medical errors (the conspiracy of silence) why should we expect them to be honest about the reason for the conspiracy of silence?
As debates over medical malpractice raged in Washington and across the country, many doctors have blamed a litigious system in the United States for discouraging doctors from openly admitting mistakes to patients. Those same doctors have held up the Canadian system, which drastically limits liability and discourages lawsuits, as a model.
But it turns out that it's not the risk of lawsuits that zips doctors' lips but rather the "culture of medicine" itself, say leading researchers on the subject.
Canadian doctors are just as reluctant to fess up to mistakes, said Dr. Thomas Gallagher, a University of Washington internal-medicine physician and co-author of two studies published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine. They are the first to compare attitudes about error disclosure among doctors in the two countries.
In fact, Canadian and U.S. doctors' attitudes about disclosure were "very, very similar," Gallagher said. "Even in settings where doctors worry less about malpractice, disclosure is still difficult for doctors."
The results strongly suggest that the medical-malpractice environment, long believed by many doctors to be the "root of all evil," is not the prime deterrent to doctors' disclosing errors, Gallagher said.
Does this make the culture of medicinee the root of all evil?
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