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Retired surgeon admits to having lied in malpractice case

One would like to believe that medical professionals place the health and well-being of their patients above all other issues. But unfortunately, it appears that this is not always the case. In a previous post on this blog, we covered how difficult it can be for patients to get information about injuries suffered in hospitals. In that post, we described how data pertaining to negligent doctors are withheld from public view.

But there is another obstacle that injured patients can face when they attempt to hold doctors accountable for negligent treatment: the secretive culture of the medical profession. According to a recent article, not only are patients frequently not properly informed if they were injured while receiving care, but doctors will cover for members of their ranks who make serious errors.

In a stunning interview, a retired surgeon admitted to having lied in court about a colleague's substandard performance. The colleague had treated a patient who suffered a stroke and was left permanently disabled after an operation. The surgeon already had doubts about his colleague's abilities because of injuries suffered by previous patients.

But when on the stand in a malpractice trial, the surgeon vouched for his colleague. The patient ultimately lost the case. Now the surgeon says he lied on the stand because the prevailing attitude was that doctors should always support their peers.

The retired surgeon now expresses regret about his false testimony. He has become an active patient advocate and wants to see a more effective way of helping patients who have been harmed during medical treatment.

But as it stands, the primary avenue for holding negligent doctors and healthcare facilities accountable is through the legal system. So if you or a family member should ever be injured due to negligence on behalf of a medical professional, it's important to have experienced representation. A medical malpractice attorney could perform a thorough investigation of your treatment and help build a case aimed at getting you appropriate compensation.

Source: ProPublica, "Doctor Confesses: I Lied to Protect Colleague in Malpractice Suit," Marshall Allen, Sept. 23, 2016

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