One of the principles behind of my family’s legislative bill is that a patient has the right to know about any harmful error that has occurred during his or her care. I am looking for arguments against this, and I found one at Law & Medicine, by Victor Cotton, MD, JD. The argument goes like this: Just because people want to know something, that doesn’t mean they have the right to know. And besides, many patients don’t want to know about errors. It is the trial lawyers who want to know about errors, and they are trying to pass this off as a patient right.
The claim that many patients do not want to know about errors immediately jumped out at me. I vaguely remember reading one study that found a very small percent (something like 2%) of patients didn’t want to know about errors. So I was very curious about where Dr. Cotton got his statistic. Continue reading