Subtracting insult from injury: Addressing cultural expectations in the disclosure of medical error

Berlinger N, Wu AM. Subtracting insult from injury: Addressing cultural expectations in the disclosure of medical error. Journal of Medical Ethics. Feb 2005;31(2):106-108.

This article proposes that knowledge of cultural expectations concerning ethical responses to unintentional harm can help students and physicians better understand patients’ distress when physicians fail to disclose, apologize for, and make amends for harmful medical errors. The article recommends that learning how to disclose errors, apologize to injured patients, ensure that these patients’ needs are met, and confront the emotional dimensions of one’s own mistakes should be part of medical education and reinforced by the conduct of senior physicians.

 

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