Physicians' attitudes toward reporting medical errors-an observational study at a general hospital in Saudi Arabia.
J Patient Saf. 2011 Sep;7(3):144-7
Authors: Alsafi E, Bahroon SA, Tamim H, Al-Jahdali HH, Alzahrani S, Al Sayyari A
OBJECTIVE: : Accurate medical error reporting is crucial for reducing the occurrence of such errors and their adverse consequences. This study aims to investigate the views of physicians about medical error reporting in a tertiary care hospital in Saudi Arabia.
METHODS: : This is a cross-sectional self-administrated survey study. All physicians in the hospital were invited to complete an anonymous survey questionnaire addressing demographic details, as well as attitudes, practice, and views on medical error reporting.
RESULTS: : One hundred seven physicians completed the questionnaires (66.5% response rate). Mean (SD) age was 39.8 (9.0) years. One-fifth of the respondents worked in the emergency department, and half had a workload of 40 to 59 h/wk. The reason given by 41.1% for not reporting a medical error by a colleague was that "it is not their responsibility." However, the gravity of the outcome of a medical error by a colleague to the patient was thought to be an important incentive for reporting. Of the physicians, 43% agreed that they would conceal the occurrence of a medical error they incurred to "avoid punishment." Nevertheless, most of the respondents held the view that there exists an ethical underpinning for reporting medical errors and that reporting of medical errors serve a valuable purpose.
CONCLUSIONS: : The physicians in our study are likely to disclose errors made by a colleague only if the error resulted in a severe damage to the patient, and as such, medical errors go underreported for a variety of reasons. It was felt that assurance of confidentiality and protection from backlash would promote medical error disclosure.
PMID: 21857239 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]