Many Physicians Would Avoid Reporting Medical Malpractice

A surprisingly high percentage feels it is not their job, according to a recent survey.

Most people expect that doctors who become aware of substandard medical practice by colleagues will take measures to report and rectify the substandard practice. Most doctors say that that is what they would do. But by “most,” I mean only 64%. This probably is less of a surprise to Miami medical malpractice attorneys.

A survey of 1900 doctors found that only 64% completely agreed that “physicians should report all instances of significantly impaired or incompetent colleagues to their professional society, hospital, clinic, and/or other relevant authority.”

The physicians who were least likely to report impaired or incompetent colleagues were…

those in a two-person practice.

Physicians in a university or medical school setting were the most likely to say they were prepared to report incompetent colleagues.

Anesthesiologists and psychiatrists were the most likely specialties prepared to report impaired colleagues. Anesthesiologists and surgeons were the most likely to report incompetent ones. Women as a group were more likely to believe that incompetence should be reported, but they were less likely to say that they were ready to do it themselves.

Of the survey respondents, 17% said they had direct personal knowledge of an impaired or incompetent colleague in the previous three years. In those instances, 33% were not reported. Some of the reasons given for not reporting were that they “thought someone else was taking care of the problem,” they “believed nothing would happen as a result of the report,” and “fear of retribution.”

  • Source: Journal Watch “Many Physicians Would Avoid Reporting Professional Misconduct” July 22, 2010