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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Talking with Patients about Other Clinicians' Errors

By Thomas H. Gallagher, Michelle M. Mello, and others
The New England Journal of Medicine
Originally published November 6, 2013

Here is an excerpt:

The rationales for disclosing harmful errors to patients are compelling and well described. Nonetheless, multiple barriers, including embarrassment, lack of confidence in one's disclosure skills, and mixed messages from institutions and malpractice insurers, make talking with patients about errors challenging. Several distinctive aspects of disclosing harmful errors involving colleagues intensify the difficulties.

One challenge is determining what happened when a clinician was not directly involved in the event in question. He or she may have little firsthand knowledge about the event, and relevant information in the medical record may be lacking. Beyond this, potential errors exist on a broad spectrum ranging from clinical decisions that are “not what I would have done” but are within the standard of care to blatant errors that might even suggest a problem of professional competence or proficiency.

The entire article is here.

Thanks to Gary Schoener for this information.
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