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Parents May Be Less Likely to Sue with Error Disclosure

Nearly 100% of parents say they would prefer early disclosure of errors

TUESDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Ninety-nine percent of parents prefer that pediatricians immediately disclose any medical errors, according to the results of a questionnaire survey published in the December issue of Pediatrics. What's more, this is true regardless of a parent's age or ethnicity.

Cherri Hobgood, M.D., of the department of emergency medicine at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and colleagues asked 661 parents who presented with children to the emergency department to take a survey based on hypothetical scenarios.

Of the 499 parents who participated, 99% wanted disclosure, 39% wanted the error reported to a disciplinary body and 36% would be less likely to sue if the error was disclosed. Blacks and older parents were more likely to prefer error reporting, and older parents were less likely to sue if the errors were disclosed.

"Educational interventions to improve error disclosure should emphasize the uniformity of parental preferences for disclosure, reporting and the decreased likelihood of legal action when errors are disclosed than if discovered through other means," the authors conclude.

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