International Journal of Applied Philosophy

Volume 32, Issue 2, Fall 2018

Andy Wible
Pages 133-142

Reporting Potential Errors
How Honest Should a Medical Professional Be?

Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, and there is growing consensus that medical errors should be discussed after they occur. This essay argues that potential errors should be discussed with patients as well in the informed consent process prior to treatment. While physicians don’t have the obligation to tell patients to go to physicians and hospitals that would present less potential for error, patients should be told of increased risks compared to other options, and be guided through the data on physician and hospital rankings. Suggestions are given to improve this informed consent process.