Physicians also know how costly—financially and emotionally—la malpractice suit can be. In a policy report issued at the end of 2011, the American Medical Association stated that the average cost of defending a physician against a medical liability claim was $47,158 in 2010. That's an increase of 62.7% since 2001. Still, 63.7% of all closed claims against physicians were dropped, withdrawn, or dismissed.
For physicians, the local malpractice environment sometimes influences their "attitudes and behaviors," including how honest they are about errors, according to Iezzoni.
Her study showed that cardiologists and general surgeons were most likely to report never having told patients an untruth in the previous year, while pediatricians and psychiatrists were least likely to report never having told untruths.
More physicians practicing in universities or medical centers, (78.1%) completely agreed with the need to report all serious medical errors than physicians in solo or two-person practices (60.5%).
The reason appears simple: small practices don't have as much legal leverage, so physicians from these practices with less clout are also less likely to be as forthcoming.