What Constitutes Effective Team Communication After an Error?

AMA J Ethics. 2020 Apr 1;22(4):E298-304. doi: 10.1001/amajethics.2020.298.


Many procedures performed today involve a team of specialists with their own training histories and backgrounds. Some errors are inevitable in the course of clinical careers. Because errors tend to lead to complications, they often also lead to assignations of blame. When this happens, too often clinicians are at odds with each other about how to respond to a patient or a patient's loved ones after that patient suffers harm. This commentary on a case of a surgical complication examines how transparency in communication, cooperative disclosure, and working collaboratively to restore an injured patient's health support clinicians' common purpose, long-standing work relationships, and collegiality.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Communication*
  • Disclosure*
  • Humans