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The Disclosure Dilemma — Large-Scale Adverse Events


Large-scale adverse events are individual events or a series of related events that injured or increased the risk that many patients would be injured because of health care management. There are ethical reasons why institutions may hesitate to disclose large-scale adverse events to patients. Practical, legal, and financial considerations, such as the difficulty in predicting the likelihood of harm and identifying the injured patients, may also lead well-meaning institutions to consider not disclosing large-scale adverse events. This article discusses two ethical frameworks often used in determining whether to disclose large-scale adverse events: utilitarian and duty-based. It also describes three examples of large-scale adverse events and discuss their distinguishing features.


The disclosure dilemma--large-scale adverse events. Dudzinski DM, Hébert PC, Foglia MB, Gallagher TH. N Engl J Med. 2010 Sep 2;363(10):978-86.