After Harm: Medical Error and the Ethics of Forgiveness by Nancy Berlinger

By Nancy Berlinger

Clinical mistakes is a number one challenge of healthiness care within the usa. every year, extra sufferers die because of clinical errors than are killed through motorcar injuries, breast melanoma, or AIDS. whereas so much govt and regulatory efforts are directed towards decreasing and combating blunders, the activities that are meant to stick to the harm or demise of a sufferer are nonetheless hotly debated. in keeping with Nancy Berlinger, conversations on sufferer security are lacking a number of very important elements: spiritual voices, traditions, and types. In After damage, Berlinger attracts on assets in theology, ethics, faith, and tradition to create a pragmatic and entire method of addressing the wishes of sufferers, households, and clinicians stricken by clinical errors. She emphasizes the significance of acknowledging fallibility, telling the reality, confronting emotions of guilt and disgrace, and supplying simply repayment. After damage provides very important human dimensions to a subject that has profound effects for sufferers and healthiness care prone.

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Additional resources for After Harm: Medical Error and the Ethics of Forgiveness

Sample text

Hilfiker’s narrative was, and continues to be, unusual in many respects. It was published well before the recent surge of interest in the problem of medical error and the obligations owed to injured patients and their families. It appeared in a major American medical journal, where personal narratives candidly describing an author’s own mistakes, as distinct from scholarly articles about or alluding to Physicians’ Narratives 15 mistakes, are still so rare that the word unique may apply to this one.

The author concludes: ‘‘As I write this, the memory still makes my hands shake. The emotions are always there. But . . I can function and still be an effective doctor. I no longer need the forgiveness I craved at first. I can live with my fallibility . . ’’∫ Hilfiker’s narrative was, and continues to be, unusual in many respects. It was published well before the recent surge of interest in the problem of medical error and the obligations owed to injured patients and their families. It appeared in a major American medical journal, where personal narratives candidly describing an author’s own mistakes, as distinct from scholarly articles about or alluding to Physicians’ Narratives 15 mistakes, are still so rare that the word unique may apply to this one.

Medical educators, as well as ethics educators and others responsible for improving the way health care professionals respond to medical harm, can also deal the patient back in, by using stories about medical harm to reintroduce the patient’s voice and the patient’s experience into conversations and training around the troublesome issue of disclosure, and in so doing, repositioning disclosure itself as a conversation that is properly understood as part of the physician-patient relationship, rather than as a professional obligation that all too often is sabotaged by the hidden curriculum.

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