Medical Malpractice: Do Providers Withhold Information About Mistakes?

By Peter DePaolis

If a healthcare provider has injured you or your loved one, whether it was through failing to diagnose a disease, birth injuries or surgical errors, you could file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Unfortunately, errors in the healthcare industry are not uncommon. According to the Journal of Patient Safety, an estimated 210,000 U.S. hospital patients die each year from medical mistakes.

Additionally, National Public Radio reported recently that a study published in the Journal showed that “patients who suffer injuries, infections or mistakes during medical care rarely get an acknowledgment or apology.”

The news comes from a study conducted by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, which involved 236 patients who completed ProPublica’s Patient Harm Questionnaire during the one-year period ending in May 2013.

The study found that most medical care providers are keeping information from patients. According to the study:

  • Only 9 percent of patients said medical facilities voluntarily disclosed harm.
  • Nine percent of the respondents said the harm was only acknowledged under pressure.
  • Only 11 percent of patients or their family members reported getting an apology from a provider.
  • More than 30 percent reported paying bills related to the harm at an average cost of $14,024.

NPR suggested that clinicians “may see the need to be more open with patients but lack the ‘moral courage’ to do it.”

A Healthcare Provider Injured Me. Can I File a Lawsuit?

Remember, if a doctor or other healthcare provider has injured you or killed your loved one, you can file an injury or wrongful death lawsuit. It is sad that there are instances where healthcare providers are withholding information from patients who have been harmed. This is not acceptable.

Any healthcare provider that maliciously or negligently harms a patient should be held liable. Our attorneys help medical malpractice victims in Fairfax County, Prince William County, Loudoun County and Arlington County.

Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP

Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia Injury Attorneys


About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.