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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Should medical errors be disclosed to pediatric patients? Pediatricians' attitudes toward error disclosure.

Kolaitis IN, Schinasi DA, Ross LF. Academic pediatrics. 2016;16:482-488.

The practice of disclosing errors to patients is considered the standard of care, but many physicians remain uncomfortable with error disclosure. This survey study sought to assess pediatricians' perceptions of error disclosure to patients and their parents. Nearly all respondents reported the importance of disclosure to parents, but only about half supported disclosure to children. Physicians believed that patients aged 12 years or older are developmentally appropriate for disclosure discussions. Respondents endorsed collaboration with parents in choosing to disclose errors to children and believed parents should be present during error disclosure. The broad general support for disclosure in this study suggests that prior work in this area is successfully changing physician culture. Corresponding studies of pediatric patients and parents are needed in order to establish guidelines for error disclosure practices in pediatrics.