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Randy Walton
Randy Walton
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Doctors Don't Tattle Tale

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A new survey shows that even though doctors believe that incompetent or impaired colleagues should be reported to the appropriate authorities, most don’t.

In a survey of more that 1,600 physicians by the Annals of Internal Medicine, 45% said they did not always report an incompetent colleague, even though nearly every respondent said the should. Nearly half said they did not report at least one serious medical error they were personally aware of.

“We found large gaps between physicians’ espoused attitudes and what they do in actual practice,” said Eric Campbell, the lead author and an assistant professor at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Institute for Health Policy.

“Failing to report incompetent physicians and allowing them to practice will have an impact on the welfare of patients,” Campbell added. “It’s clearly something that people should be aware of.”

The survey was conducted between 11/03 and 6/04 through a center at Columbia University.

For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Medical Malpractice and Negligent Care.