The St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s Jeremy Kohler and Blythe Bernhard used the example of one litigious St. Louis psychiatrist to demonstrate how doctors can work the system to keep their records clean and professional prospects bright despite work histories that are sometimes anything but. The strong anecdote provides engaging context for a well-analyzed report on the reporting of physician errors under the current system.
Critics say hospitals are underreporting and that puts patients in harm’s way. As long ago as 1996, a government agency concluded that the number of hospital reports was “unreasonably low.” It has gotten even lower. In 2008, the number of reports was three-fourths of the 1996 total, according to the newspaper’s analysis.