Comm Eye Health Vol. 32 No. 106 2019 pp 40. Published online 10 September 2019.
Key messages – When things go wrong in eye care
Be honest with patients
- Explain the risks and possible visual outcomes of the procedure.
- Obtain written consent from the patient.
- Keep accurate records of all the care given to a patient.
- If something goes wrong, tell the patient as soon as possible.
Say that you are sorry
- Saying that you are sorry makes a big difference to the patient.
- It does not mean that you are at fault, or that you accept legal liability. A sincere apology may reduce the risk of legal action.
- When you apologise, explain what went wrong, how you will minimise or rectify the damage caused and how you plan to ensure no-one else will be harmed
Support others and keep on learning
- Create a working environment where it is safe to admit mistakes.
- Support health workers who have been involved in a medical error.
- Record and investigate errors so you and your team can learn from them and prevent future errors.
- Invite an external review if you need more input.
- Keep up to date with your professional and legal responsibilities.