All professions have their own particular culture, and the medical field is no different. However, what makes the medical profession different is that its members have the important responsibility of providing people with health care. Doctors, in particular, must make decisions and perform tasks that can have a profound impact on the well-being of their patients.
Anyone can make a mistake. It is considered an ethical obligation for a doctor that makes a mistake while treating a patient to inform that patient of what happened. It would also stand to reason that if a doctor saw a peer make a mistake when issuing treatment, he or she would inform the patient as well. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
For a variety of reasons, doctors are sometimes loath to call attention to the mistakes they see committed by colleagues. In a report compiled by The New England Journal of Medicine, 15 experts discussed this problem and cited several possible reasons it exists.
One reason is that a doctor may be unsure of what he or she saw and may not want to invest the time it takes to follow up on the issues. Another factor could be the culture of the community. Doctors rely on one another for referrals. If a doctor earns a reputation for being an informant, the other doctors may start to withhold their referrals. This could cost the informing doctor a lot of business.
The fact that doctors may be hesitant to police one another is indicative of a culture that can be insular and not always forthcoming with important information. This means that when a patient is harmed while in the care of a physician, it may be difficult to compile the evidence necessary for a medical malpractice suit.
As such, anyone who wishes to pursue legal action against a negligent doctor may be able to benefit from working with a medical malpractice attorney. An experienced attorney understands how to pursue the truth, even if a doctor or hospital offers resistance.