Physicians Discuss Reasons for Not Disclosing Certain Risks

August 24, 2012 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


Risks of further surgery, chronic pain, impaired vision or hearing, poor cosmetic result, and infertility or sexual dysfunction were among the risks that patients believed should have been disclosed to them but were not, according to a study of 45 Australian medical malpractice cases published online August 7, 2012, in PLoS Medicine. The majority of the cases (31) involved surgeries; the remainder involved medications (7), anesthesia procedures (3), obstetric care (3), and a washout of tear ducts performed by a general practitioner. In their defense, the physicians offered varying justifications for declining to disclose certain risks. The most common reason was that the risk was too rare; 18 of the 45 physicians offered this reason.

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