Face up to errors, doctors urged

Doctors need to get better at confronting colleagues who make mistakes, US experts say.

The call to action comes in a New England Journal of Medicine article urging the medical profession to "explore, don't ignore" errors made by colleagues.

The authors say doctors have a "professional responsibility" to initiate face-to-face discussion when they realise a fellow clinician has made a medical error.

These conversations should occur before the mistake is disclosed to the patient, say the authors, whose expertise span health policy, medical malpractice and bioethics.

"Confronting the apparent error of a colleague raises challenging questions about whether an error occurred, how the error arose, which professionals carry what responsibilities, and how to talk with the patient about