To Report or not: The Dilemma of Reporting Medical Errors among Physicians

Saleh M. Aldaqal, Munaser S. Al-Amoodi


Objectives: Medical errors (ME) can be an important cause in hindering the improvement in the quality of service provided to patients as well as their wellbeing. Underreporting ME by health professionals might prevent identifying the areas that require attention. This in turn, will not only affect the quality of service provided to patients, but also it might increase the rate of litigation and patient harm. Methods and Materials: In a questionnaire on reporting medical errors (RME), we evaluated demographics of physicians, their knowledge on RME and attitude towards reporting and practice of reporting and/or concealing their errors. Results: Reporting was significantly higher among consultants, (P=0.001). Furthermore, 48% (n=81) confessed committing ME, of which 35% (n=59) had reported it. The majority of participants 81% (n=137) consider reporting ME an ethical issue. Conclusion: There is an agreement amongst physicians that reporting ME is an ethical issue. Reinforcement of RME and reducing ME can be achieved by implementing strict guidelines, training personnel efficiently and using the experience of professionals in their appropriate fields.


Keywords: Medical errors; Reporting medical error; Physician attitude

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