Even the smartest and most caring of human beings make errors. In clinical medicine, sometimes errors result in serious patient harm. The pertinent question for clinicians is what to tell patients and their families, and what are the legal risks of full disclosure? The case history by Dunn et al1 that accompanies this editorial is unique in that it documents a major medical error in intensive care sedation with near-fatal results, reveals full-patient disclosure, and includes the patient and her husband as co-authors on the paper, all without an acrimonious legal dispute. There are several important lessons to be drawn from this case.