Most doctors see an average of 20 patients a day. With such a busy schedule, it is no surprise that sometimes mistakes happen. According to the National Institutes of Health, over 85,000 medical malpractice cases get filed each year across the United States.
Unfortunately, while anyone can become a victim of medical malpractice, not everyone reports these incidents. The reasons behind the silence can be complex and multi-layered.
1. Fear of retribution or victimization
One of the main reasons people do not report medical malpractice is fear of retribution. They may worry that if they complain, their healthcare provider will cease to provide them with the necessary care or their provider will treat them poorly in the future. This fear can be particularly strong in smaller communities or when the healthcare provider is a sole practitioner in a specific field.
2. Lack of awareness
Some individuals might not report malpractice simply because they do not know what constitutes medical negligence. They might perceive the harm they suffered as an unfortunate but accepted risk of their treatment, rather than a preventable error. Raising awareness about medical malpractice can help individuals identify it and take the necessary steps to report it.
3. The complexity of the process
The process of reporting and proving medical malpractice can appear overwhelming. The medical field is complex, and proving that malpractice occurred often requires a detailed understanding of medical procedures, standards of care and patient rights. This complexity can deter individuals from reporting malpractice.
4. Emotional distress
The emotional distress associated with medical malpractice can also deter people from reporting. Filing a report means revisiting the trauma, which can be a painful process. Some might choose to focus on their recovery and moving past the event rather than reopening the wound.
Highlighting the reasons people may not report medical malpractice can guide efforts towards providing support, simplifying processes and raising awareness, ultimately helping more sufferers of medical malpractice come forward.