The Emotional Toll of Medical Mistakes

The physical consequences of medical errors are obvious. One well-known study estimated that as many as 98,000 hospital deaths a year stem from mistakes by health care workers. But what about the less visible emotional costs of these missteps?

The New England Journal of Medicine tackled the issue yesterday in a moving commentary called “Guilty, Afraid and Alone: Struggling with Medical Error.’’ The writers, Dr. Tom Delbanco and Dr. Sigall K. Bell of the Harvard Medical School, note that while the medical community has focused largely on reducing error rates, hospitals also need to address the “human dimensions” of treatment blunders and to assist in the emotional recovery of patients and families.

Read the New York Times story  

 
 

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