BMC medical ethics 2017 01 2318(1) 3 doi 10.1186/s12910-016-0161-x
In this study, medical errors are defined as unintentional patient harm caused by a doctor’s mistake. This topic, due to limited research, is poorly understood in Malaysia. The objective of this study was to determine the proportion of doctors intending to disclose medical errors, and their attitudes/perception pertaining to medical errors.
This cross-sectional study was conducted at a tertiary public hospital from July- December 2015 among 276 randomly selected doctors. Data was collected using a standardized and validated self-administered questionnaire intending to measure disclosure and attitudes/perceptions. The scale had four vignettes in total two medical and two surgical. Each vignette consisted of five questions and each question measured the disclosure. Disclosure was categorised as "No Disclosure", "Partial Disclosure" or "Full Disclosure". Data was keyed in and analysed using STATA v 13.0.
Only 10.1% (n = 28) intended to disclose medical errors. Most respondents felt that they possessed an attitude/perception of adequately disclosing errors to patients. There was a statistically significant difference (p < 0.001) when comparing the intention of disclosure with perceived disclosures. Most respondents were in common agreement that disclosing an error would make them less likely to get sued, that minor errors should be reported and that they experienced relief from disclosing errors. CONCLUSION
Most doctors in this study would not disclose medical errors although they perceived that the errors were serious and felt responsible for it. Poor disclosure could be due the fear of litigations and improper mechanisms/procedures available for disclosure.