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Paul Thomson
Paul Thomson
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Hospitals Rarely Disclose Adverse Events to Patients

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Medpage Today reported that hospitals rarely give their patients explanations when they experience adverse effects of treatment. A survey revealed that over sixty percent of the time, patients do not receive explanations for adverse events. However, when patients were told about adverse events, they were twice as likely to rate the quality of care highly. About 31% of the events were preventable; and some 40% of the effects were related to medications started during the hospital stay. The physician review also determined that three quarter of the effects were severe.

Disclosure was associated positively with favorable patient impressions of the hospital care they received.

This is because an increased level of communication can lead to greater trust from the patient, an more positive perception of care, and possibly even a lower risk of malpractice. Dr Wachter in an editorial stated that the study "adds to the accumulating evidence that disclosure is not only ethically correct but, if done well, can lead to higher levels of patients’ trust, increased perceptions of quality and perhaps even lower malpractice risk." Hopefully, studies like these will provide physicians the confidence to start fulfilling their ethical duties and advising patients of adverse events and effects.

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  1. Mike Bryant says:
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    Ah the secret , you treat people with respect and use honesty and things turn out better. Deny, Delay and Defend is still the thing that drives most people into our office. Great point here.