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Obstetrics & Gynecology:
doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000000130
Contents: Current Commentary

Delivering the Truth: Challenges and Opportunities for Error Disclosure in Obstetrics

Carranza, Leslie MD, MHS; Lyerly, Anne Drapkin MD, MA; Lipira, Lauren MSW; Prouty, Carolyn D. DVM; Loren, David MD; Gallagher, Thomas H. MD

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Abstract

Disclosing harmful medical errors to patients is a prominent component of the patient safety movement. Patients expect it and safety agencies and experts advocate its implementation. Obstetrics presents unique challenges to carrying out disclosure recommendations: childbirth is a life-changing, emotionally charged, and dynamic family event characterized by high expectations and unpredictability, and perinatal care is provided by complex ad hoc teams in a litigious area of medicine. Despite these challenges, transparent communication with parents about unexpected adverse birth outcomes remains critical. We call on clinicians and professional societies to pursue a deeper understanding of the unique challenges of disclosure in obstetrics and prepare themselves to conduct these difficult conversations well.

© 2014 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

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