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After Patient Ms. W received surgery on the wrong-site in her neck to relieve neck pain, she soon experienced adverse health effects, such as pain, distress, and lack of trust in healthcare providers. Ms. W’s experience illustrates the lack of communication between physicians and patients. The discrepancy is poor physician communication and refusal of apologizing for malpractice is due to fear of litigation. To improve patient-physician communication, health systems are encouraged to implement programs that encourage disclosure among healthcare professionals and trainees to improve overall healthcare quality.


Gallagher, T. H. (2009). A 62-year-old woman with skin cancer who experienced wrong-site surgery: review of medical error. JAMA, 302(6), 669–677.