Intended for healthcare professionals


Medical Error: What Do We Know? What Do We Do?

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: (Published 03 August 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:285
  1. David Woods
  1. Philadelphia

    Eds Marilynn M Rosenthal, Kathleen M Sutcliffe

    Jossey-Bass, $45, pp 368

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    ISBN 0 7879 6395 X

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    The causes of medical error are well documented: stress, burnout, and loss of autonomy among physicians; nurses' unwillingness to challenge or question doctors' actions; the complexity and interdependence of medical procedures; fear of litigation; and strained resources. More than 80% of medical error, though, according to this book, can be blamed on non-communication or miscommunication. And what we do about all this is, like medicine itself, not entirely an exact science.

    This book emerged from a conference at the …

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