Physicians more apt to admit obvious errors than less obvious ones

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

October 8, 2008

Doctors are more likely to admit errors that are obvious than those that are less obvious, reports The Wall Street Journal Health Blog. A new study from the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine says that although the culture surrounding this topic is changing and moving more toward full transparency, most physicians would admit an error when that error is more obvious to the patient and his or her family.

The study asked about 200 physicians whether they would tell a patient's family about an insulin overdose, and then about an overlooked lab test. The study found that 75% of doctors (specifically pediatricians) said they would inform the patient's family about the insulin overdose, while 33% said they would definitely report an overlooked lab test. However, most doctors also thought that an insulin overdose would be more serious than an overlooked lab test.

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