News Headlines Article

Talking with Patients about Other Clinicians’ Errors
New England Journal of Medicine

Although a consensus has been reached regarding the ethical duty to communicate openly with patients who have been harmed by medical errors, physicians struggle to fulfill this responsibility. One particular challenge is that although the literature assumes the physician providing the disclosure also committed the error, health care today is delivered by complex groups of clinicians across multiple care settings. In addition, safety experts emphasize the role that system breakdowns play in adverse events. Thus, many decisions about discussing errors with patients involve situations in which other clinicians were primarily responsible for the error.