Study: Doctors avoid medical error disclosures

While in theory, doctors say that they would reveal medical errors to patients, a new study has found that most don't actually do so when they have the chance. The study, done by the University of Iowa's Carver College of Medicine, surveyed faculty physicians, residents and medical students at academic medical centers to find out what factors affected whether physicians disclosed errors. Of the 538 respondents, 97 percent said that they'd disclose minor errors and 93 percent said they'd disclose major errors. In practice, however, only 41 percent said that they'd actually disclosed a minor error. A scant 5 percent had 'fessed up to a major error. Experienced physicians were more likely to admit mistakes than younger doctors. Interestingly, researchers concluded that their responses weren't affected by whether they'd been sued by malpractice or not. This research appears in the current online issue of the Journal of Internal Medicine.

To find out more about the study:
- read this United Press International article

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