A new survey of Illinois medical patients has shown that doctor trust affects a person’s reaction to a medical error, but that patient-doctor trust does not affect a person’s decision to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

In the study, which was published in last month’s issue of Medical Care by researchers at the University of Illinois, Chicago, found that 40 percent of respondents had experience with a medical error in the past – either involving their family or a close friend. Twenty-five percent of those surveyed said that they would file a medical malpractice lawsuit in the wake of a medical error, while 10 percent said that they were very certain that their doctor would report an error. Sixty percent of those who trusted their doctor would recommend their physician even after a medical error, while only 30 percent of those who didn’t believe their doctor would disclose information would recommend after an error.

Researchers who conducted the study hopes that their results will help reduce the number of medical errors in Illinois while helping reduce the legal fallout that could take place when a doctor discloses an error.
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