Open & Honest

CMU health professor and licensed attorney, Dr. Mark Cwiek working at his deskDr. Mark Cwiek, researches the need for changes in public policy and the expansion of open disclosure of medical errors. Patients worldwide rely on physicians to provide them with accurate and timely information regarding their health. However, regardless of scientific and technological advances, accidents happen. Some patients experience adverse, or undesirable events as a result. In this event, It is imperative that the medical team engage in beneficial and open disclosure. Open disclosure describes the discussion that medical practitioners have with patients who have been affected by an accident or error. The honest conversation must address the mistakes made and ensure the patient that they are safe. Dr. Cwiek and his collaborators highlight the importance of this step by discussing public policy and where to draw the line on open-disclosure. Dr. Cwiek’s research explains the many uncertainties physicians feel regarding open disclosure of medical errors. Some don’t tell the patient they’ve made an error out of fear or shame. Others don’t know when it’s necessary; didn’t the patient consent to treatment that involved risk? Dr. Cwiek and his collaborators research the legislative side and define where to draw the line for open-disclosure of medical errors.

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Story by ORGS Intern Hailey Nelson