Apologizing for Mistakes Reduces Mistakes!

by John McKiggan

Apologizing Reduces Mistakes

A study performed at Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital has found that apologizing for mistakes may actually help reduce the incidents of mistakes.

Full Disclosure

Three years ago the hospital implemented a “full disclosure policy” regarding mistakes make during patient care. The policy of admitting mistakes resulted in a 50% drop in “adverse incidents” (otherwise known as medical errors) over the past 3 years.

Provincial health care officials in Quebec are looking to use the hospital’s policy as a model to create a province wide registry of adverse incidents.

Admitting Mistakes Reduces Lawsuits

I have already talked about how admitting medical mistakes leads to a reduction in the number of medical malpractice lawsuits.

Admitting Mistakes Reduces Mistakes?

However, this study suggests the admitting medical errors may actually serve to reduce the number of errors themselves!

I’m not sure what that might account for the reduction. Perhaps when doctors, nurses and healthcare staff don’t feel compelled to maintain the “code of silence” they are more likely to report dangerous medical situations so that the situations can be corrected which, in turn, prevents further problems.

Bernie Weinstein, a patient advocate at Jewish General Hospital summarized the issue:

…to be told “don’t worry; its ok” is not the answer…what you really want to hear is, “we know what went wrong, and we are doing something. And we apologize. It won’t happen again because we are going to do something to ensure it doesn’t”

So what do you think? If you or a family member suffered a medical error and the doctor or hospital apologized immediately would you be less likely to sue? Do you think apologizing for medical mistakes can actually help reduce mistakes?

If you or a loved one have suffered injuries that you think may be due to medical malpractice you can buy a copy of my book: The Consumer’s Guide to Medical Malpractice Claims in Canada: Why 98% of Canadian Medical Malpractice Victims Never Receive a Penny in Compensation. on Amazon.

Or you can contact me through this blog or by calling toll free in Atlantic Canada 1-888-647-7201 and we will send you a copy, free, anywhere in the Maritimes

One Response to “Apologizing for Mistakes Reduces Mistakes!”

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