Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Response to “Patient organisations should also establish databanks on medical complications”
  1. P J Marang-van de Mheen1,
  2. J Kievit2
  1. 1Association of Surgeons in the Netherlands, the Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Medical Decision Making, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, the Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr P J Marang-van de Mheen
 Association of Surgeons in the Netherlands;

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Gebhardt in his brief report1 pleads for patient organisations to establish databanks on medical complications. Given the references (for example, an article by Paans, a journalist, entitled “Medical errors to be kept secret”) and the lack of argumentation, there is substantial danger of misinterpretation of the current situation, which in turn may frustrate the process of increased transparency. We would therefore like to respond to this by giving background information and reasons for some of the choices that were made with respect to the registry of complications mentioned by Gebhardt.

First, a distinction needs to be made between an error and an adverse outcome, which are often confused. From Gebhardt’s reference to the journalist’s article which discusses the same registry of adverse outcomes, but with the title referring to errors, both Gebhardt and the journalist think errors and adverse outcomes are the same thing. However, an error refers to the process in which something has gone wrong, a substandard performance, regardless of the outcome. It has been explained by others that such a judgement may have a degree of subjectivity.2 An adverse outcome refers to the outcome which is unwanted but does not necessarily imply that an error has been made. This is why the term “adverse outcomes” is used rather than …

View Full Text