Doctors have a responsibility to their patients to be as accurate as possible. Whether they're diagnosing a patient or performing a procedure, it's important that the patient knows exactly what's going on. However, errors will inevitably occur.
Dr. Tapas K. Das Gupta is a reputable cancer surgeon who's been in the medical field for over 40 years. As the chairman of surgical oncology at the University of Illinois, the 74-year-old has undoubtedly witnessed various accounts of medical negligence. But no mistake has proved to be as memorable or as vital as the one he made when performing an operation on the ribs of a female patient.
According to the New York Times, the medical procedure required that Dr. Das Gupta extract a sliver of tissue from the ninth rib, but he ended up mistakenly operating on the eighth one instead. Also, an X-Ray taken after the surgery revealed that an electrode was left in the patient's body. After being presented with the evidence, he decided to apologize to the woman and her husband.
“After all these years, I can not give an excuse to you whatsoever,” said Dr. Das Gupta to the couple. “It is just one of those things that occurred. I have to some extent harmed you.”
Although a sincere apology is warranted in any situation where a doctor makes a mistake, more often than not, victims of these medical mishaps never receive one. In the state of Illinois there is no law specifically requiring physicians to acknowledge oversights. Fears of tarnished reputations and lawsuits usually keep them from being completely honest with their patients. However, the American Medical Association's Code of Conduct and Ethics encourages doctors to confess any mistakes made on their behalf, especially if it puts the patient's health and safety in jeopardy.
Unfortunately, the rates of recorded medical errors have increased throughout recent years. A study conducted by John Hopkins University concluded that medical error is the third leading cause of death in the United States, estimated at 250,000 deaths per year. Professors at John Hopkins are pushing for the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to update its statistics reporting requirements in hopes of forcing physicians to clarify whether or not an error led to a preventable death.
“We all know how common it is,” said lead researcher Martin Makary. “We also know how infrequently it's openly discussed.”
The patient in Dr. Das Gupta's case was fortunate enough to correct her surgery at another facility at no cost, all because he chose to acknowledge his mistake. Most victims don't have that luxury. If you suspect that you are a victim of medical malpractice, it's imperative that you call an attorney who will assist you in holding doctors accountable. We make sure you receive the reimbursement you deserve here at Benassi & Benassi.