Everyone makes mistakes, but the mistakes made by doctors can be life-changing. When medical negligence causes an injury to a patient, that patient can seek financial compensation for damages. However, as our Midland TX personal injury attorney explains, obtaining a fair settlement isn’t always easy. It’s critical that you know what medical errors occurred, and that requires your doctor to tell you about the error.  doctor drawing out the word medical error with marker in texas

Does a Doctor Have to Disclose a Medical Error in Texas?

The National Institute of Health defines a medical error as “the failure of a planned action to be completed as intended or the use of a wrong plan to achieve an aim.” Medical errors can harm a patient, but not all errors result in injury.

The American Medical Association (AMA) in their Code of medical Ethics requires that a doctor inform a patient of a medical error. But while most doctors agree that not telling a patient about a mistake is a violation of ethics, many still don’t tell their patients.

Disclosing Medical Errors

According to the AMA Code, doctors who have been involved in a medical error or a possible medical error have an ethical obligation to do several important things.

What Doctors Must Do After a Medical Error

  • Inform the patient that the error occurred
  • Explain the nature of the harm or potential harm
  • Provide information that will enable the patient to make informed decisions about medical care in the future
  • Acknowledge the error, and communicate professional and compassionate concern
  • Explain the steps being taken to ensure a similar error won’t occur in the future

Physicians are obligated to take these steps even if the medical error won’t change the medical treatment for the patient.

The Purpose of Disclosure

The AMA Code “protects the principles of honesty and transparency” as well as “promotes patient welfare and safety.” Thus, there are three primary reasons for disclosing medical errors:

  • So patients can respond to the error with informed decisions
  • To protect the trust between patient and doctor by ensuring transparency
  • To ensure patient safety

Why a Doctor Might Not Admit a Mistake

Just because there is an ethical obligation to admit a medical mistake, that doesn’t mean every doctor will do so. There are two primary reasons they might not want to make this admission:

  • Professional liability. Admitting an error may open up the physician to a liability suit. Many doctors want to avoid potential legal action.
  • Pride. Many doctors don’t want to be embarrassed by their mistake. Not providing information is their way of maintaining their pride.

What to Do if Your Texas Doctor Made a Medical Error

If you believe that a medical error occurred during your care, procedure, or surgery, seek out another professional in the field to get insight into what could have happened and perhaps why. Your new doctor may be able to gather information about the incident and help you to make decisions about any additional medical care you need.

Then, seek out the care of a medical malpractice lawyer. This is your opportunity to gain insight into the legal options available to you. Your attorney will work to determine what happened by speaking to witnesses, getting copies of your medical records, and gathering data available from third parties medical experts.

You can help by writing down as much information as you can about what occurred. Detail what doctors, nurses, or others told you about your treatment. Be sure to include specifics and fine points, no matter how minor they might seem. This information can help your attorney to verify what occurred and what harm was caused.  

Why Consider a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

When a medical professional makes a mistake, it can lead to serious and very costly losses for you. If your losses are the direct result of the doctor’s mistakes, you may have the right to financial compensation for those losses.

Reasons to Pursue a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

  • Help cover the medical bills specifically related to those mistakes
  • Gain financial support for any quality of life you’ve lost as a result of those losses
  • Help ensure that other people do not suffer the same consequences or losses because of these types of mistakes
  • Obtain financial compensation for future losses that may occur, including for medical treatments or rehabilitation costs
  • Obtain compensation related to wrongful death if your immediate family member lost their life due to these mistakes

It is not always possible to file a lawsuit against a doctor for mistakes. If the medical error did not cause you harm or the doctor provided the minimal standard of care, you may not be able to sue them.

How a Texas Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

A Texas medical malpractice attorney can act on your behalf when speaking to insurance companies or other attorneys. Because a medical malpractice case will likely be aggressively defended, you do not want to talk to these individuals on your own. A simple mistake in what you say could be used against you to reduce fair compensation.

If you've suffered serious injuries due to the negligence of someone else, you should speak to an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. We know how difficult getting through this can be. That’s why our experienced team wants to help guide you – as we have helped guide many of our clients within Midland, Houston, Dallas, and the surrounding areas. 

You can give us a call at (214) 699-4409 or email us at [email protected] You can contact us online to schedule a free consultation by filling out the form below or by chatting with a member of our team.

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Dallas, Houston, and Midland Texas trial and personal injury lawyer dedicated to securing justice for clients.