Derived from Latin word ‘Complicare’ = ‘Fold Together’. It’s a secondary disease or condition which makes an already existing one worse - something more intricate, difficult or confusing; an unfavorable evolution or consequence of a disease or health condition or therapy


Is continuation of an earlier event, or an after-effect of surgery that is inherent to the procedure. It is a pathological condition resulting from a prior disease, injury or an attack

Adverse Event

An undesired patient outcome that may or may not be the result of an error: An incident, which resulted in harm(World Health Organisation: The conceptual Framework for the International Classification for Patient Safety: Version 1,1 2009)

Never Events

Are errors in medical care that are clearly identifiable, preventable, costly and serious in their consequences for patients, and indicate a real problem in the safety and credibility of a healthcare facility.

  1. Surgery done on a wrong body part
  1. Foreign body left in a patient at surgery
  1. Mismatched blood transfusion
  1. Major medication error
Open Disclosure

An open, consistent approach to communicate with patients and relatives when things go wrong in healthcare. This includes expressing regret for what has happened, keeping the patient informed, providing feedback on investigations and the steps taken to prevent a recurrence of the adverse event


Deficiency in providing reasonable skill and care.
Harm caused by carelessness or lapses in: Warning the patient and family about possible harm/ Ensuring safety.
Act of commission or omission.
Error of judgement (where a competent surgeon with similar skills would NOT have made this mistake)

Negligence: That is Not Punishable

Error that happens despite reasonable skill and care.
Harm from unexpected accident.
Complainant cannot prove medical deficiency on part of the surgeon.
Statement from a respected colleague: that there was no wrongdoing; that the complication is inherent in the procedure; that you did everything possible to rectify matters.


Injury or death following adventurism or deliberate deviation from accepted standards of practice.

  1. Performing a procedure without obtaining informed consent
  2. Operating on the basis of a faulty diagnosis
  3. Performing procedures not validated by peers
  4. Unnecessary surgery
  5. Experimenting on the patient
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