Why don’t more doctors apologize for their mistakes?
“The unintended consequences of these seemingly well-intentioned laws are doctors who can’t apologize for harming their patients even if they want to …”
A recent JAMA article about disclosing medical error described a hypothetical situation involving a dermatologist who, after completing skin biopsies on two patients, discovered that the instruments had not been sterilized. He wondered if he should tell the patients and what he should say.
The authors of the piece said patients should be told what happened, and the doctor should apologize. All concerned parties should review the error, and quality assurance, risk management, and the malpractice insurance carriers should be informed.
The advice is sound and should be followed by anyone who identifies a medical error that could potentially harm a patient.
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