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Revista médica de Chile

Print version ISSN 0034-9887


LAVANDEROS, Sebastián; PEDRAZA, Juan; RUSSO N, Moisés  and  SALAS, Sofía P. Ethical dilemmas about disclosure of errors in medicine. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2016, vol.144, n.9, pp.1191-1198. ISSN 0034-9887.

Since the publication of the Institute of Medicine’s report “To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System” awareness of the importance of medical errors has increased. These are a major cause of morbidity and mortality and recent studies suggest that they can be the third leading cause of death in the United States. Difficulties have been identified by health personnel to prevent, detect and disclose to patients the occurrence of a medical error, an also to report them to the appropriate authorities. Although human error cannot be eliminated, it is possible to design safety systems to mitigate their frequency and consequences. Our goal is to provide an update on the major concepts related to medical errors, a review of Chilean legislation on the subject, and a bioethical analysis on the principles involved, along with a management proposal. We propose mandatory reporting of errors to the health institution where they occur, to serve as a measure of personal and team learning, and to disclose the error to patients, depending on their own preferences.

Keywords : Ethics; Disclosure; Medical Errors; Patient Safety; Risk Management.

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