Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 12, Issue 12, pp 770–775 | Cite as

To tell the truth

Ethical and practical issues in disclosing medical mistakes to patients
  • Albert W. Wu
  • Thomas A. Cavanaugh
  • Stephen J. McPhee
  • Bernard Lo
  • Guy P. Micco


While moonlighting in an emergency room, a resident physician evaluated a 35-year-old woman who was 6 months pregnant and complaining of a headache. The physician diagnosed a “mixed tension/sinus headache.” The patient returned to the ER 3 days later with an intracerebral bleed, presumably related to eclampsia, and died.


House Officer Incompetent Patient Medical Mistake Harvard Medical Practice Study Malpractice Insurer 
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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Albert W. Wu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Thomas A. Cavanaugh
    • 3
  • Stephen J. McPhee
    • 4
  • Bernard Lo
    • 4
  • Guy P. Micco
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Health Policy and Management School of Hyygiene and Public HealthJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimore
  2. 2.Division of Internal Medicine, Department of MedicineJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimore
  3. 3.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of San Francisco
  4. 4.Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaSan Francisco

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