Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Doctors Who Say They’re Sorry

There was an interesting editorial in the New York Times last month (click here) about what to do when doctors err. All the malpractice suits has driven up insurance. Says the article:

The willingness of doctors at several major medical centers to apologize to patients for harmful errors is a promising step toward improving the quality of a medical system that kills tens of thousands of patients a year inadvertently.
For years, experts have lamented that medical malpractice litigation is an inefficient way to deter lethal or damaging medical errors. Most victims of malpractice never sue, and there is some evidence that many patients who do sue were not harmed by a physician’s error but instead suffered an adverse medical outcome that could not have been prevented. The details of what went wrong are often kept secret as part of a settlement agreement.
What is needed, many specialists agree, is a system that quickly brings an error to light so that further errors can be headed off and that compensates victims promptly and fairly. Many doctors, unfortunately, have been afraid that admitting and describing their errors would only invite a costly lawsuit.
Now, as described by Kevin Sack in The Times, a handful of prominent academic medical centers have adopted a new policy of promptly disclosing errors, offering earnest apologies and providing fair compensation. It appears to satisfy many patients, reduce legal costs and the litigation burden and, in some instances, helps reduce malpractice premiums.


For the rest of the article, click here.
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  • Nancy aka sixlittlekitties

    I think this is a great idea.
    Doctors are not God and it is a guessing game on diagnoising someone.
    To apologize for his screw up and the damage that occured and to compensate me for that screw up would make me think long and hard about sueing.
    The catch though is he must be able to prove he did all the necessary things to arrive at his diagnois, that is current in his education, that he is constantly updating his education with medical articles and such.
    Some of the older doctors are relying on outdated information and their “superior then thou” attitude to make life-altering decisions for someone else.
    Reason I look for doctors in their mid-40’s now and check their education.
    Nancy aka sixlittlekitties

  • Anonymous

    The morning prio r to my stroke I had stoped by my allergistsbefore going to school to get my weekly allergy shot. because those shots aren’t usually administered to a patient who is feeling “under the weather”,the nurse who always administered it questioned hw I was feeling. That morning I admitted to having a blinding heache that had kept me awake most of the previous night. The nurse imediately took my blood pressure, which at that time wasn’t under any form of treatment. It was two hundred and forty-five over two hundred! After consulting with my allergist, my show wasn’t given and I was told to go see my primary care doc, who told me to go home to bed rather than proceeding to work. More than one medical professional has stated that had I been sent immediately to the emergency room, my stroke most likely could have been prevventedLitigation in my case wasn’t evn a possibility since under a change in Michigan’s torte laws, another doctor ith the exact same credentialsAND the same kind of practice, AND NONE COULD BE FOUND THAT MET THAT CRITERIA. Although I believe our society is entirely too litigious these days, and I couldn’t have imagined myself suing before this all happened, the thught that my stroke and all its aftereffects could have been prevented haunts me still. I’ve since come to believe that the same federal level torte law should be applicable throughout the country to avoid such nearly impossible requirements once an error has been made. Obviously, a settlement wouldn’t have changed the medical realities, but it certainly would have gone a long way towards making live as a hemiplegic easier by allowing me to buy and remodel my own hanicapped friendly home, paying for twenty-four hour live-in help and/or purchasing a van complete with an hydrolic lift to provide me transportation.

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