Confronting a Colleague Who Covers Up a Medical Error — a curbside consultation in the American Family Physician.

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  • Anonymous

    ha, ha, ha–do you guys really believe your own press releases? The medical industry is one giant cover-up in which hypocritical “altruistic” doctors hid their mistakes and their fellow’s.

  • Elliott

    What a gutless piece of advice. The doctor made a serious error and lied about it; the Professor of Ethics is telling the colleague who is concerned and wants to do something about it to simply not worry that everything is taken care of already. It’s worse actually since his advice is that the lying doctor needs support and NOT the patient.

  • Samson Isberg

    Why use the word “confronting”? Why not use the “epicrisis”, the letter sent back to the referring colleague to tell him/her how the patient has fared.

    I myself use this method often. If carefully worded, the message will get home in a way as to make the original doctor a wiser, better practictioner, and your friend, instead of making him/her your enemy and impervious to any correction.

    If you want to catch fies, honey is better than vinegar.

  • Anonymous

    Ah–but what about the patient, Dr. Isberg? Why don’t you write him/her? They paid for your services–don’t they deserve the benefit of your wisdom.

    I suppose as a Norwegian subject–from a country that, as I recall welcomed the Nazis–you must have great confidence in unaccountable bureaucracies, professional or governmental.

  • Anonymous

    My apologies Samson, anon 10:52 MUST be an American as most of my countryman have a knowledge of history only 10 minutes long (hence the present debacle in Iraq).

    Anon 10:52:
    As a matter of fact Norway did not accept Germany with open arms, The war in Southern Norway lasted about a month whereas the French/British didn’t pull out of Northern Norway until late June 1941. Keep in mind the French only lasted 6 weeks to the blizkreig. Quisling was installed by the Nazi’s and never had the support of Norway’s people in fact I have pasted something from a website about the war below.

    “has been estimated that as many as 10% of Norwegians were supportive of the Nazi occupation, though this estimate is uncertain and the support varied throughout the occupation. It is clear that the vast majority of Norwegians were opposed to the occupation, and many resisted it in various ways.

    So much for the history lesson. Now what this has to do with a doc making an incorrect diagnosis Samson, your guess is as good as mine.

  • Anonymous

    1. Hey Anon 12:03–I am proud to be an American, ’cause at least I know I’m free. You, however, are obviously a culturally insecure, American bootlicker.

    2. As for the role of Norway under occupation, it really is nothing to brag about. Unlike Denmark, which managed to smuggle its Jews to Sweden, over half of the Norwegian Jewish population was deported & murdered. Norway’s most prominent author, Knut Hamsen, was a Nazi and confident of Hitler. After the War, forty-six thousand Norwegians were prosecuted for colloboration. Etc.

    3. Anon 12:03′s quotation of a wikipedia article is touching–no doubt many Norwegians would like to remember their history in such a way.

    4. Why do these great political failings happen? Part of the reason is of course a belief that bureaucracies/professions know better and are not accountable. Isburg’s indifference to his responsibility to his patients reflects this pernicious mindset.

  • Michael Rack, MD

    What you have in this case is the patient’s version of events. The new physician does not have any facts about the case that the patient does not know. The new physician’s only obligation to the patient is to provide good clinical care.

  • Anonymous

    There is no supporting evidence presented in this article by the second physician that the first physician covered up an incorrect diagnosis. The second physician is apparently assuming that the information presented by the patient is full, complete, and factual.

    Why didn’t the second physician obtain a copy of the records of the first physician and review these with the patient.

    This is a “he said, she said” situation.

  • Anonymous

    “Why didn’t the second physician obtain a copy of the records of the first physician and review these with the patient.”

    Because he wouldn’t want to give a contrary opinion against a colleague that he might have to repeat under oath?

  • Anonymous

    Or the second physician, upon review of the record of the first physician could have given to the patient an accurate description of the impression/evaluation of the first physician. Patients are notorious for misunderstanding medical information given.

  • Anonymous

    Well anon 10:17 you talk alot and say little. The facts are as I stated. It is easy to be proud to be an American when we are the only superpower and you are sitting behind a computer with your pannus hanging over the edge. Again this has nothing to do with the thread and the only thing you show is you are yet another clueless american with respect to world history.

  • Anonymous

    ” Patients are notorious for misunderstanding medical information given.”

    Considering the amount of time, or lack thereof, most physicians spend explaining things to their patients, is that surprising?

  • DBR

    Studies have shown that patients actually recall only about 25% of what a doctor tells them – not because the doctor hasn’t taken enough time or because the patient is stupid, but because it’s entirely natural for the patient to focus on a couple of words or sentences (such as, “I’m afraid the biopsy showed a malignancy”) and then don’t really “hear” the rest of the information. That’s why all major medical organizations recommend that patients take a relative or friend along for doctors’ visits.

    Another factor is the prevalence of doctors and patients NOT speaking the same language – at least, not fluently. Immigrant patients may not be conversant enough in English to comprehend everything the doctor tells them, and English-speaking patients may have trouble understanding heavily accented English from physicians who come from other countries – something we’re seeing more and more of these days….

    It’s a problem, though, and one that needs to be addressed….it doesn’t matter whether the doctor gives the right advice or the wrong advice if the patient can’t understand it or isn’t listening…

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