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Louisiana doctors may not always apologize for surgical errors

National guidelines recommending full disclosure of medical mistakes suggest that every patient has the right to know when something doesn't go as planned during surgery. Surgical errors often result in serious injuries or death in hospitals throughout the nation. Louisiana patients may be interested in the results of a recent survey that indicates the majority of participants only follow approximately five out of eight national recommendations.

Some of the most common forms of surgical error include foreign objects being let inside the body of a patient, wrong-site surgeries and organ punctures from sharp surgical tools. When asked whether they fully admit all errors to injured victims and their families, and whether they apologize for their mistakes, many of the participants said they do not. One doctor stated that discussing such things is often very uncomfortable, so many doctors choose not to directly address such situations.

That same doctor agreed that every person has the right to know when things go awry during medical treatments or surgeries. Doctors are advised to offer direct apologies to those adversely affected by their mistakes. They are also told to acknowledge when errors might have been prevented were it not for their own negligence.

In Louisiana and all other states, anyone injured by surgical errors may take action against those deemed responsible by filing personal injury claims in civil court. Often, surgical injuries require further surgery, or other ongoing medical treatment in order to obtain full recovery. This type of care is quite expensive and may pose undue financial hardship on a recovering victim. Court-awarded compensation in a successfully litigated case can help alleviate such debt.

Source: CBS, "Would a surgeon tell you if a medical error occurred during your operation?", Mary Brophy Marcus, July 20, 2016

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