According to a John Hopkins University School of Medicine report, patients who suffer injuries, infections or mistake during medical care rarely get an acknowledgement or apology.

The study was published in the Journal of Patient Safety.

The study was based on responses from 236 patients who completed ProPublica’s Patient Harm Questionnaire.

The questionnaire helps ProPublica’s reporters find stories and trends. The John Hopkins study was conducted independently from ProPublica.

Recently more than 600 people have volunteered to complete ProPublica’s Patient Harm Questionnaire.

The study found that it is common for health care providers to withhold information about medical mistake. Only 9% of patients said that the medical facilities voluntarily disclosed the harm.

Usually when officials did disclose harm, it was because they were forced to.  Patients in claim that officials usually don’t even acknowledge that harm occurred.

Not only do patients rarely see acknowledgement of the harm, but they also infrequently received apologies, only 11% of patients reported getting an apology from a provider.

The study also discovered that more than 30% of patients reported paying bills related to the harm.

Last year, a study estimated that at least 210,000 U.S. hospital patients a year die from medical mistakes. Although the problem is widespread across the nation, there has been very little research into how patients feel about experiencing medical harm.

Patient advocates and providers should work together on how to best inform patients and medical schools and training programs to introduce the necessary skills to be more open with patients.

Authors of the study cautioned that because their findings are from a self-selected sample of patients. The self-selected sample of patient makes it impossible to draw definitive conclusions about patient harm or disclosure.


Gerry Oginski
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NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer
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