When it comes to medical errors, doctors are not likely to tell their patients the truth. Typically, a physician will keep his/her patient in the dark by using euphemistic medical-speak to explain an error, such as referring to an avoidable surgical injury as an “unanticipated complication of the procedure.” But a recent study in the Journal of Health Affairs suggests that doctors cloud the truth in many other ways: http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/31/2/383.abstract.
What is most disturbing about the Health Affairs article is that many doctors do not agree that they should disclose serious medical errors to patients. In fact, a culture of secrecy has long been promoted by physicians and their professional organizations. Most States have enacted laws to cloak bad outcomes in secrecy, so that patients cannot learn whether a physician’s colleagues or