Intelligence Unit Special Reports Special Events Subscribe Sponsored Departments Follow Us

Twitter Facebook LinkedIn RSS

Doctors more likely to tell patients about obvious errors

Wall Street Journal (Blog), October 7, 2008

In a survey, physicians were presented with two scenarios: In one, a child receives an overdose of insulin and is admitted to the intensive care unit, and in the other, a doctor overlooks a lab test and the child is hospitalized for a serious infection. The insulin overdose would be more apparent to the child’s family, and that may partly explain why 75% of pediatricians said they would definitely report the insulin overdose to the child's family, but only 33% said they’d definitely report the overlooked lab test. The range of responses about whether and how to report such errors to patients is reflective of a medical culture that is only slowly moving toward transparency, and of an abiding fear of lawsuits among doctors, say the study's authors.