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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article
Study

Medical error disclosure among pediatricians: choosing carefully what we might say to parents.

Loren DJ, Klein EJ, Garbutt J, et al. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. 2008;162.

Studies of medical error disclosure have demonstrated that, while physicians support disclosure of errors in theory, most "choose their words carefully" in practice and fail to disclose important elements of the error. In this study, pediatricians were presented with error scenarios and asked to describe what they would disclose to the child's parents. Overall, a minority of physicians would fully disclose the error, and most would not offer an explicit apology. An accompanying editorial discusses barriers to disclosing errors and strategies (including communication training) that should be implemented to improve this aspect of patient–physician communication.