Medical Errors and What Doctors Must Disclose

Just like all of us, healthcare providers make errors and mistakes. But do physicians have to inform you of them? The quick answer is sometimes. Please note that if a medical provider fails to inform you of a medical error, you may have the grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Informed Consent and Disclosure of Adverse Events and Mistakes

In Washington state, there is a law called the “Informed Consent Law” which requires healthcare providers to inform their patients of the risks, benefits, and alternatives to any medical procedure or treatment before obtaining the patient’s consent to undergo the procedure or treatment.

In addition, Washington state law requires healthcare providers to disclose any “adverse event” to their patients, which includes any unexpected or unintended outcomes that result from medical treatment or procedures. Healthcare providers must also provide their patients with information about any available resources for reporting and addressing such adverse events.

If a healthcare provider in Washington state makes a mistake during a medical procedure or treatment, they are required by law to inform their patient of the mistake and any resulting harm. This is known as “disclosure and apology.”

Not Every Adverse Event and Mistake Has to Get Disclosed

It’s important to note that healthcare providers are not required to disclose every mistake or adverse event, but rather those that are considered “significant” or “material.” The determination of what is significant or material is based on a number of factors, including the:

  • Severity of the harm,
  • Likelihood of recurrence, and
  • Potential impact on the patient’s future health.

If you have concerns about a medical mistake made by your healthcare provider, it’s important to speak with them directly and ask for an explanation. You may also wish to seek the advice of a medical malpractice attorney or file a complaint with the Washington State Department of Health.

Reasons for Disclosure

The law requires healthcare providers to disclose adverse events and mistakes as a way to:

  • Enable patients informed decision-making in response to the adverse event/mistake,
  • Protect the trust patients place in the medical profession by promoting transparency, and
  • Safeguard patient welfare and safety.

Contact Otorowski Morrow & Golden, PLLC

Please know that our firm is here to help if you suffered an injury because of a medical professional’s malpractice. Otorowski Morrow & Golden, PLLC provides free consultations to all our potential clients. The attorneys at our law firm also have over 120 years of combined experience representing injured parties in medical malpractice cases. They never back down to insurers and fight for their clients’ interests every step of the way. Do yourself a favor and contact them now for the quality legal representation you deserve.

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