A recent “On Your Side” investigation by a local ABC affiliate in Cleveland, Ohio, explored the culture of secrecy that can surround mistakes made in hospitals. While medical malpractice attorneys have long been familiar with the difficulties injured patients can face when injured because of hospital negligence or surgical error, the investigative journalists expressed surprise at how often hospitals and medical facilities failed to disclose errors and mistakes that caused injury to patients.
Hospitals have a vested interest in maintaining a good safety record. Hospitals which have a significant number of medical errors begin to get a poor reputation. Similarly, doctors and surgeons do not wish to have their mistakes broadcast to the world. That can make it difficult for patients to discover what happened, even if the hospital in question has a record of the error.
The eyewitness report offered three examples of medical malpractice cases which recently occurred in Ohio. In all cases, patients were not informed of the mistake which harmed them:
- A surgical fire caused third-degree burns on a patient’s face. Neither the surgeon nor the hospital let the patient know. She discovered the fire through filing a malpractice suit.
- A veteran suffered a serious infection after a dental procedure. The infection remained undiagnosed for some time. Tragically, the patient passed away because of the infection.
- A patient had surgical gauze left in his stomach after surgery. The gauze was not discovered until the patient got a second opinion at a different hospital.
These examples are just a sampling of the numerous medical malpractice errors that occur at hospitals throughout Ohio. While the majority of hospitals and doctors do their best to minimize errors, if an error does occur, many institutions are reluctant to inform the injured patients.
If you believe you suffered injury or experienced a worsening medical condition because of medical error, contact John D. Smith Co, LPA, to discuss your legal options and potential steps for discovering the truth.