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Sound Medicine Radio Hour

When It Comes To Medical Mistakes, Disclosure And Apologies Are Rare

doctors performing surgery

Have you ever been injured, infected, or otherwise harmed by a medical mistake? If so, your story may be more common than you think.  Recently, researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine analyzed responses from 236 patients who had completed Pro Publica's Patient Harm Questionnaire, and published their findings in the journal Patient Safety

They found that only nine percent of respondents said a medical facility disclosed the harm, and only 11 percent reported that a health provider had apologized. More than 30 percent reported paying bills related to the harm, with the average cost over $14,000. A 2013 study in the same journal estimated that at least 210,000 and as many as 400,000 people die each year in American hospitals due to preventable harm. 

Sound Medicine host Barbara Lewis spoke with ProPublica reporter Marshall Allen about the recent findings. 

Take ProPubilca's Patient Harm Questionnaire.

Read Marshall Allen and Olga Pierce's article "The Two Things that Rarely Happen After A Medical Mistake."