One of the most difficult experiences for any doctor or nurse is when they realize that they have made a mistake that has harmed a patient. In the past, mistakes were seldom disclosed to patients. The prevailing ethos was one of professional silence, secrecy, and shame. That has begun to change. Many professional organizations in both medicine and health law recommend full disclosure of mistakes and apologies for the harm that is caused. An atmosphere of openness and honesty leads to a culture of quality and safety. In this Ethics Rounds, we analyze the complex emotional and ethical issues that arise when doctors recognize that an error has occurred.
- Accepted April 16, 2014.
- Copyright © 2015 by the American Academy of Pediatrics