American Academy of Pediatrics recommends standards for adverse event disclosures

1. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) policy statement on disclosure of adverse events recommends the formulation of institutional policies surrounding disclosure, education, and emotional support for physicians.

Statement Rundown: There has been an increased focus on patient safety by physicians and patient families in the last decade. Studies have indicated that up to 10% of pediatric patients may experience an adverse event and that half of those may have been preventable. Most physicians agree that there exists an ethical obligation to inform patients and families about adverse events. However, fear surrounding legal repercussions and embarrassment have been cited as barriers to prompt disclosure to families. In addition, the protection surrounding disclosures, apologies, and admissions of fault by physicians to patients is highly variable between states. The AAP recommends that institutions and physicians develop guidelines for both identification and ethical, empathetic disclosure of adverse events to patients. Policies to support physicians involved in adverse events and educational programs surrounding adverse event identification and reporting should also be implemented. Legal reform to reduce liability risks from apologies and admissions should be sought by legislators.

Click to read the policy statement, published today in Pediatrics

Relevant Reading: Adverse events among children in Canadian hospitals: the Canadian Paediatric Adverse Events Study

Image: PD

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