When a medical error leads to patient harm, it’s hard to argue that no one is more upset than the patient’s family. However, it’s often overlooked that the doctors or nurses who caused that error also may be devastated.
“One of the most difficult experiences for any doctor or nurse is when they realize that they have made a mistake that has harmed a patient,” say the authors of an ethical discussion in the current issue of Pediatrics.
What should a doctor do when they realize a mistake has led to pain and suffering, or worse? While the answers may seem clear, there are many ethical and, unfortunately legal, dilemmas a provider must consider prior to disclosing such sensitive information.
“In the past, mistakes were seldom disclosed to patients,” said the authors, led by Sigall K. Bell, MD, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston. “The prevailing ethos was one of professional silence, secrecy, and shame. That has begun to change.”
Read Brad Broker’s full post on the Physicians News website.