Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Apologising for errors

Difficulties in apologising for a medical error

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 24 September 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h4997
  1. Hassan Chamsi-Pasha, head of non-invasive cardiology1,
  2. Abdullah Hanoun, orthopaedic registrar2,
  3. Mohammed Ali Albar, director3
  1. 1King Fahd Armed Forces Hospital, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  2. 2Orthopaedic Department, Yeovil District Hospital, Yeovil, UK
  3. 3Medical Ethics Department, International Medical Centre, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  1. drhcpasha{at}

Because statements of sympathy and regret can be used to prove legal liability in medical malpractice cases, lawyers routinely advise doctors against apologising and being open about what happened.1 2 Doctors who admit errors may face the discredit of their peers, the anger and disappointment of their patients and their …

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