The scope and impact of medical malpractice can be difficult to understand for those who are not victims. Still, the number of patients who have experienced hospital negligence, received treatments not based on accepted standards of care or other types of errors and then go on to file claims is incredibly small. In fact, just under 3 percent of victims ever file any type of legal suit.
So, why is that number so low? Most patients in New Jersey want to hold only liable parties responsible for their injuries. The current health care system does not make it easy to find out exactly who was involved which tasks. Inaccurate records are a significant problem for many, and there are also health care workers who are uneasy about coming forward with certain information.
Another explanation is perhaps even more disconcerting. Many victims of medical malpractice have trouble facing the reality that their treatments were mishandled. Trust in doctors and the health care establishment is so ingrained that it can be difficult to accept that certain injuries and illnesses should have never occurred, and they were indeed the faults of the attending providers. Accepting that they were treated negligently can also have profound emotional impacts, as victims must then accept that bad things do transpire behind hospital walls.
Fear, emotional trauma and hospitals that stonewall patients' requests for accurate records create unpleasant environments for most victims. Institutions fear being held responsible for hospital negligence, as both their reputations and financial interests are at stake. When New Jersey patients successfully navigate medical malpractice claims, they not only achieve compensation for themselves and their own injuries, but they also help create environments that help prevent similar incidents from happening to future patients.
Source: blog.syracuse.com, "Medical malpractice: what it is, and why it isn't reported more frequently", March 31, 2016