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After medical malpractice, victims want open communication

Being the victim of a medical mistake can take a serious emotional toll on a person, and understandably so. Patients in Iowa typically expect doctors to treat them with care and dignity, and learning that a serious error has occurred can be devastating. Even victims who have received compensation for medical malpractice sometimes continue to feel a deep sense of dissatisfaction.

A recent study focused on three different hospitals that maintain open lines of communication after an error occurs. These hospitals ditched the traditional approach of denying all medical malpractice accusations and rigorously defending themselves for a more common-sense approach -- simply offering compensation when malpractice caused patient harm. Researchers spoke with 40 people in all, 27 medical malpractice victims, three family members and 10 additional people employed at one of the three hospitals.

Of the 30 victims and family members, 27 received compensation for injuries. The satisfaction rate among those was found to be at its highest when there was open communication between providers and patients. This was especially true when doctors spoke to patients and family members about the error and its cause instead of sending a social worker to handle things. That same study revealed that 35 respondents believed a personal legal representative also helped along these conversations.

Unfortunately, most hospitals in Iowa still handle medical errors by strict denial. This creates incredibly difficult situations for victims as they seek compensation for medical malpractice injuries, and are met with opposition every step of the way. Until things change, victims are usually well-advised to pursue medical malpractice claims in as timely a manner as possible.

Source:, "After medical errors, patients want doctors to hear them out", Lisa Rapaport, Oct. 13, 2017

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