An ugly truth about malpractice lawsuits is that some of the most indefensible violations of patient safety are covered up by hospitals, clinics and doctors with the complicity of the lawyers representing the injured patients. This happens when settlements are entered into that require the patient to keep confidential everything that happened, and sometimes to even pretend it never happened.
USA Today has a big takeout today that describes a particularly egregious example: the prestigious Cleveland Clinic covered up a rape allegation against one of its surgeons by settling the patient’s claim and requiring the patient to sign a settlement document promising to remain silent about the episode. Eventually the surgeon resigned quietly and moved onto another health care institution, which of course knew nothing about the allegations until informed recently by the newspaper.
Everybody is familiar by now with how secret settlements have allowed sex abusers in the entertainment and media world – Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reilly and the rest of the gallery of shame – to buy off their accusers and go onto perpetrate harms against others.