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Carolina Study: Most Patients Change Doctors After A Medical Mistake


Posted on Sep 30, 2010

A new study that focuses on North Carolina doctor’s offices has found that one in six patients believe that their primary care physician has made a mistake – and that one in seven patients switch doctors after the perceived mistake.

While the study did not determine whether the medical errors actually took place or rather the patients mistakenly believed that medical mistakes had been made, the study does shed light on the damaged relationship between doctors and their patients: doctors may not successfully communicate with their patients, and patients may often be reluctant to admit to health professionals that they believe an error took place. Many medical experts believe that this problem could be fixed simply by having doctors talk more openly with their patients – whether or not a medical mistake has been made.

At the same time, patients should take more control of their treatment, medical officials say. If you think a mistake has been made or that a treatment isn’t working, it is much better to speak with your doctor about the issue than to never say anything and simply go to a new health professional. If you speak to your doctor about a serious medical mistake and he or she does nothing, be sure to get a second opinion and to speak with a medical malpractice lawyer if necessary. Not saying anything about a doctor’s blatant medical mistake could put other patients in danger.

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