Due to development in science and related ethical considerations in the western part of the world, patients and those related to them have more opportunities to be aware of mistakes and errors committed by their medical practitioners which further allows them to follow an appropriate course of action depending on the nature of MEs. Another significant factor that leads to formation of processes involved in disclosure of medical errors is Judeo-Christian traditions prevailing in western part of the world. Although these traditions are not universally applicable however secular western societies recognize them well. Some of the major Judeo-Christian expectations include confession, repentance and forgiveness. According to Berlinger and Wu (2003),
When one misses the mark in terms of another person, Jewish and Christian traditions prescribe a series of concrete, reciprocal practices: confession, which includes disclosure and apology; repentance, which includes the actions that the person who has harmed another undertakes to compensate for the error; and forgiveness, through which the person who has been harmed signals that he or she has been adequately compensated. These practices may serve as a lifelong reference point for ethical conduct (106)i.”
In order to devise a concrete mechanism of disclosure and apology by medical institutions to those directly affected by these medical errors, it is important to identify and understand expectations on part of patients and those related to them. Where apologies are the ultimate expectation of these parties, admitting fault and confessing them are the first step to resolutions of such situations. It is important to note that admitting fault may be sufficient enough to raise liability of medical practitioners and institutions in case patients and their relatives decide to enter into law suits.
Another important element of accepting and disclosing medical errors is repentance on part of medical authorities involved