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African Health Sciences
Makerere University Medical School
ISSN: 1680-6905
EISSN: 1680-6905
Vol. 13, No. 3, 2013, pp. 820-828
Bioline Code: hs13124
Full paper language: English
Document type: Study
Document available free of charge

African Health Sciences, Vol. 13, No. 3, 2013, pp. 820-828

 en Patients’ knowledge and perceived reactions to medical errors in a tertiary health facility in Nigeria
Ushie, BA; Salami, KK; Jegede, AS & Oyetunde, M


Background: Human errors in healthcare delivery pose serious threats to patients undergoing treatment. While clinical concern is growing in response, there is need to report social and behavioural context of the problem in Nigeria.
Objective: To examine patients’ knowledge and perceived reactions to medical errors.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted using a semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect data from 269 in-patients and 10 In-Depth Interviews were conducted among health caregivers in the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Nigeria.
Results: Majority (64.5%) of respondents reported annoyance and disappointment with medical errors. Severity of error (88.5%) and the perception of negligence mediated intention to litigate. Voluntary disclosure significantly reduced patients’intention to litigate caregivers (chi2=3.584; df=1; P=0.053). Frustration/anger was not more likely to influence patient to litigate than feelings of resignation/forgiveness (chi2=2.156; df=1; P>.05). Financial difficulties arising from error had an important influence on litigation. Health caregivers admitted possibility of errors; and insisted that although notifying patients/relatives about errors is appropriate, disclosure was dependent on the seriousness, health implications and the causes.
Conclusion: Voluntary disclosure and teamwork is very important in dealing with medical error. The role of medical social workers could be important in the discourse and disclosure of medical error.

Healthcare delivery; Malpractice litigation; Medical errors; Negligence; Voluntary disclosure; Nigeria

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