Accordingto Hébert,Levin, and Robertson (2001),human is to error. Medical error is the use of a wrong plan ratherthan the intended plan. Clinicians and patients have a differentunderstanding of the error disclosure. Most patients desire to knowwhen a medical error occurs in their care. They expect to hear aclear explanation, an apology, and the strategies to deal with theerror. Although most physicians endorse error disclosure, researchshows only twenty-five of the medical errors are disclosed. It isadvantageous for physicians to disclosure medical errors because itreduces lawsuits, and it helps a patient to understand what toexpect. Conversely, there are also cons to error disclosure.According to Hébertet. al. (2001),medical disclosure increased the fear of claims and negativereputation. In addition, it increases difficulties of assessingcausalities.
Nonetheless,it is ethical for the physicians to disclose any medical error thatoccur. Also, they should offer an explanation why the error occurred,strategies to minimize it effects, as well as how the physician andthe entire organization will prevent a similar occurrence. Aphysician may decide whether to disclose fully the error, partiallydisclose the error, or fail to disclose the error at all. Fulldisclosure is when a physician gives explicit information that anerror occurred. Partial disclosure is when a physician just mentionsthe adverse event but does not mention the error. On the other hand,no disclosure is when a physician does not give any reference to theadverse event nor mention about the error.
Itis a legal, ethical, and professional responsibility of physiciansand health organization to disclose any medical error that occurswithin their premises. Studies show that health centers that havefull disclosure of adverse event, rapid apology, financialcompensation, appropriate investigations, and strategies to avoidfurther recurrences have low litigation costs and few malpracticelawsuits (Hébertet. al., 2001).For my opinion, physicians should fully disclose an error.
Hébert,P. C., Levin, A. V., & Robertson, G. (2001). Bioethics forclinicians: 23. Disclosure of medical error. CanadianMedical Association Journal, 164(4),509-513.