In the course of professional practice, errors will occur and patients may be harmed because of them. The ethical obligation to respect patients' autonomy requires that dentists reveal mistakes to patients if the mistake significantly affects the patient's health and well-being. Answering the question, "would most people think they have a right to know of this type of mistake if it happened to them?" may be helpful in determining the significance of an error. An open disclosure and examination of professional mistakes will be beneficial to patients, doctors, and the practice. Fear of legal reprisals or thoughts that the mistake could be effectively concealed from the patient cannot justify failing to inform the patient of an error and may put the dentist in greater legal peril. Dentists who attempt to hide errors from patients violate the patient's autonomy and risk implicating the profession as one which cannot be trusted.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||5|
|State||Published - Jan 1 1999|
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