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Not reporting medical malpractice may be bad for your health

With patient harm and medical malpractice being such common topics it is surprising to learn that few patients ever report medical negligence. Maryland hospital patients considering filing a medical malpractice lawsuit might find the following interesting.

There are many reasons why patients choose not to report the harm such as medical negligence while undergoing medical care. For one thing, patients are often traumatized, choosing to focus on recovery. Another reason is the sheer burden of filing a complaint.

When a patient is injured due to hospital negligence or physician error there are a number of avenues for filing a complaint, including the state licensing agency and the Joint Commission, which accredits the hospital. Medicare has quality improvement channels that can be used, too. Having multiple choices may seem like a good idea on the surface, but it can also make filing a complaint significantly more complicated, and simply confusing, for patients.

There are many reasons to report an injury incurred while in the care of doctor -- reasons that supersede dollars and cents. For one thing, the medical community relies on self-reporting to implement policies and procedures to protect patients. Every time a patient fails to report an injury, the problem bears an increased likelihood of being repeated.

The notion that medical malpractice complaints are about bilking doctors and hospitals of hard-earned money is about as far from the truth as one can get. In reality, such lawsuits represent one of the few visible methods for holding the medical community accountable for errors by hospitals and physicians. That results in better patient care. It's simply not possible to improve what you don't now needs attention.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Why Don't Patients Report Medical Errors?" Marshall Allen, ProPublica, Sept. 25, 2012

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