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Half of Doctors Don't Report Inept Colleagues: Survey

A groundbreaking survey gives patients new insight into the self-policing nature of the medical profession -- and they might not like what they see.

Nearly half of U.S. doctors don't report incompetent colleagues. That's the finding of a first-of-a-kind survey being published in a medical journal.

Of the more than 1,600 doctors questioned, said they had direct knowledge of an incompetent, impaired doctor but didn't do anything about it. And 46 percent said they didn't report a serious medical error.

Among other findings: While nearly all doctors said they'd put their patient's welfare ahead of their own financial interest, a large majority would refer patients to an imaging facility in which they hold a financial stake.

The report is in the new issue of the "Annals of Internal Medicine."