A new Harvard Medical School study just published in the Annals of Internal Medicine indicates that 46% of doctors surveyed knew of or had observed at least one serious medical error in a hospital or their own practice and failed to report it to hospital or other authorities. Most physicians surveyed, over 95% in the study, agreed that they had an obligation to report serious medical errors. Despite this, the majority did not do so. Shockingly, 55% of surgeons and cardiologists did not agree that they even had an obligation to report serious errors.
We all have an obligation to be honest and report improper practices that can cause serious injury or death. This is especially true for doctors and nurses who are supposed to protect patient health and act as patient advocates. Failure to do so risks the life of the current patient and future patients who may come under the care of the negligent institution, doctor or nurse.