No one likes being lied to. But we can all agree that some lies are bigger than others. With some only leaving a slight bruise to the ego, but the more extreme having worse consequences. We can say that everyone makes mistakes and that some mistakes are more costly than others. Spilling a cup of milk is less worrisome than, let’s say, forgetting your child at the park.
However, when you make a mistake and lie or fail to inform the affected people about said mistake, things start turning from morally ambiguous to morally corrupt. When you are in a position where lives are at stake, it is imperative that you strive to minimize —even eliminate— mistakes and display complete honesty to anyone seeking your services. Sadly, this is not always the case with doctors and insurance companies. Medical malpractice suits in which a doctor, nurse, or pharmaceutical company make a mistake due to some form of negligence leading to the injury or even death of a patient are quite typical in the US.
In 1995, a man in Tampa Bay, FL, had the wrong leg amputated. Due to a series of errors from the surgeon and his team. Willie King went into surgery to have a diseased leg amputated only to wake up and find that they had amputated his healthy leg instead. As a result of the brazen exhibition of negligence, Mr. King was eventually rewarded $1.2M. But not after going to another hospital and getting the diseased leg amputated, making him an unnecessary double amputee. Unfortunately there are many malpractice horror stories that will make you question the honesty and integrity of a doctor. So, it’s important to ask the right questions to get an honest answer from them.
In a profession where patient inquiry and questioning is absolutely necessary, doctors often fall back to their “go to” answers which are vague and basically blanket statements. “I’ve performed many of these procedures before.” Really? Have you?
It’s your job to ask the questions to make informed decisions about your health and wellness. A response to get an answer you’re comfortable with would be: “How many of these procedures did you perform last year?”
It’s also smart to ask for written information so you can learn on your own terms what the doctor is recommending. Ask for definitions and research unclear terminology. Also, keep in mind information told to you in previous visits, and hopefully you have it written down so you can cross-reference and get to the bottom of any inconsistencies.
It is your duty to hold doctors, insurance, and pharmaceutical companies accountable if you happen to be one of the unfortunate victims who are injured as a result of negligence. You may be discouraged, as many doctors are reprimanded with as little as a slap on the wrist and/or a fine. Even the insurance companies are acting under the misguided notion that malpractice lawsuits will raise healthcare costs, and lobbyists are trying to pass legislation so your pursuit of legal action is very limited. It is important to know if, and when, you have a case so you can hold these people responsible for their actions and keep them from harming other people.
Mistakes happen. But dishonesty to cover it up is unnecessary and overall negligent, and is not acceptable in the case of injury or death. Doctors are more than capable of not making such lazy mistakes. Furthermore, they are in a position where making such a mistake can lead to serious injury or even death. In a perfect world, medical malpractice wouldn’t happen. But as we all know, it is a possibility. Protect yourself by getting to the bottom of what a doctor says, and asking questions to keep him honest and transparent, so you can walk away comfortable in your decision to proceed further — or seek other opinions for your health and safety.
Avery T. Phillips is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. Comment or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or suggestions.
Image Credit: Copyright: lightwise / 123RF Stock Photo
I am Luke Miller, content manager at Truth Theory and creator of Potential For Change. I like to blend psychology and spirituality to help you create more happiness in your life.Grab a copy of my free 33 Page Illustrated eBook- Psychology Meets Spirituality- Secrets To A Supercharged Life You Control Here