Doctors: Say “I’m Sorry” and don’t get sued!

by John McKiggan

Apologize and don’t get sued. The New York Times has reported a story that will come as no surprise to medical malpractice lawyers or Malcolm Gladwell.

Doctors who apologize for their mistakes get sued far less often than doctors who refuse to acknowlege they have done anything wrong.

The Times reports:

For decades, malpractice lawyers and insurers have counseled doctors and hospitals to “deny and defend.” Many still warn clients that any admission of fault, or even expression of regret, is likely to invite litigation and imperil careers.

A few hospitals have bucked the “circle the wagons and fight” mentality.

By promptly disclosing medical errors and offering earnest apologies and fair compensation, they hope to restore integrity to dealings with patients, make it easier to learn from mistakes and dilute anger that often fuels lawsuits.

A simple idea; taking responsibility for your actions.

At the University of Michigan Health System, one of the first to experiment with full disclosure, existing claims and lawsuits dropped to 83 in August 2007 from 262 in August 2001.

I have been representing victims of medical malpractice for 18 years. In almost every case, the patient came to me because they were frustrated by the lack of information they were receiving from their doctor, or the hospital.

What do you think? If your doctor apologized for his or her mistake; if you truly belived they were sorry; would you be less likely to sue?

If you think you or a family member has been a victim of medical malpractice you can contact me with your questions or you can ask for a free copy of my book The Consumers Guide to Medical Malpractice Claims in Canada.

Related posts on the Halifax Personal Injury Lawyer Blog:

Doctors Don’t Disclose Errors, Even When They Think They Should: U.S. Study

Medical Malpractice Kills More Than 24,000 Canadians Each Year

Only 2% of Canadian Medical Malpractice Victims Receive Compensation!

Do Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Improve Patient Safety

Overworked Nurses Causing Medication Errors

Thanks to John Day at Day on Torts for the link to the Times story.

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