Iatrogenesis: ethical and legal aspects

Adolesc Med State Art Rev. 2011 Aug;22(2):289-300, x-xi.


This article describes iatrogenic events, giving examples that range from individual error to systemic malfunctions. It then goes on to analyze individual and system responsibilities in the disclosure of iatrogenic events. A discussion follows on the physician's responsibility, professional integrity, "duty to warn", and transparency as they relate to error disclosure, including an examination of the role of apology and repair in the setting of iatrogenesis. It concludes by considering the moral and legal operational implications of iatrogenic events and the building of a culture of safety.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent Medicine*
  • Humans
  • Iatrogenic Disease*
  • Liability, Legal
  • Medical Errors / ethics*
  • Medical Errors / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Organizational Culture
  • Safety Management
  • Truth Disclosure / ethics