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Why are medical errors so common and often covered up?

On Behalf of | Nov 16, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

In the healthcare industry, the amount of medical errors cast a shadow. Beyond the sterile walls of hospitals and clinics, a scary truth emerges. These issues are not only common but are also often concealed.

Learning about why this happens can help people as they delve into the systemic tendency to hide errors.

Liability worries

One factor contributing to medical errors is liability. The fear of legal consequences often induces healthcare professionals to remain silent about their mistakes.

The idea of malpractice claims and damage to professional reputations creates a culture of secrecy. This fear-driven silence can hurt the learning process within the medical community, slowing down the identification and fixing of issues that contribute to errors. For example, just misdiagnosis errors alone lead to more than 400 cases of death or permanent disability in America every year.

Healthcare system issues

Another contributor to medical errors lies in the nature of the healthcare system itself. Overburdened by administrative issues, a lack of resources and understaffing, professionals may find themselves operating in a place ripe for errors.

The pressure to meet quotas and the lack of standardized processes lead to an atmosphere where mistakes can easily slip through the cracks. Consequently, the system’s very structure becomes a breeding ground for errors.

Self-preservation struggles

Covering up medical errors is also a form of self-preservation. Acknowledging mistakes openly can expose systemic failures that go beyond individual actions. Healthcare institutions may choose to shield themselves from public anger by hiding problems. This protective stance creates a culture of silence that harms long-term improvements in patient care.

In unraveling the reasons behind the commonality of medical errors and their subsequent cover-ups, it becomes apparent that a new approach is important. Addressing this problem helps ensure the well-being of patients in the face of malpractice.