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Can J Neurol Sci. 2004 May;31(2):169-74.

Doctors' duty to disclose error: a deontological or Kantian ethical analysis.

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Division of Neurosurgery, Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Medical (surgical) error is being talked about more openly and besides being the subject of retrospective reviews, is now the subject of prospective research. Disclosure of error has been a difficult issue because of fear of embarrassment for doctors in the eyes of their peers, and fear of punitive action by patients, consisting of medicolegal action and/or complaints to doctors' governing bodies. This paper examines physicians' and surgeons' duty to disclose error, from an ethical standpoint; specifically by applying the moral philosophical theory espoused by Immanuel Kant (ie. deontology). The purpose of this discourse is to apply moral philosophical analysis to a delicate but important issue which will be a matter all physicians and surgeons will have to confront, probably numerous times, in their professional careers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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