Transparency and Other Clinicians’ Errors; PA Enacts Apology Law

November 15, 2013 | Physician Practice News

Preview

Transparency as a patient safety goal is still in progress in many organizations across the country, according to a perspective piece in the October 31, 2013, New England Journal of Medicine. One facet of this complicated issue is the necessary response when a staff member discovers an error made by another staff member, as discussed in another article in the same issue. Communication among staff and with patients about such an event is imperative, write the authors. The discovering staff member faces the challenges of lacking firsthand knowledge about the event and unwillingness to broach the issue directly, among others. The authors remind readers that patients and their families come first: “Although anxieties about damaging collegial relationships loom large in situations of potential error involving other clinicians, a patient’s right to honest information shared with compassion about what happened to him or her is paramount,” they write. “Simply put, when disclosure is ethically required, the fact that it is difficult must not stand in the way.”

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