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Why do doctors refuse to admit or apologize for mistakes?

On Behalf of | Mar 29, 2017 | Medical Malpractice

According to research conducted by John Hopkins University, medical errors kill approximately 251,000 patients each year across America. Countless other patients are injured by medical malpractice.

While these numbers are staggering, the number of families that receive an apology is very small. In fact, it’s the unspoken rule of most hospitals and medical providers to never admit fault for anything that goes wrong. The vast majority of injured patients and grieving families are forced to file medical malpractice lawsuits in order to get answers and find closure.

Taking A New Approach And Saying ‘I’m Sorry’

The good news is that the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is testing a new approach. According to MedCityNews, this approach is called CANDOR. Its goal is to avoid medical malpractice lawsuits by having hospitals take three steps after an error:

1. Explaining what happened. Victims and their families deserve prompt disclosure after a medical mistake.

2. Apologizing for the damage. A simple “I’m sorry” can go a long way toward healing emotional trauma and rebuilding trust.

3. Providing compensation. It only makes sense that medical providers offer to pay for rehabilitation and other costs associated with the medical error.

The hospital system in Michigan tried this model back in 2001. In the first year after implementing it, the number of lawsuits dramatically dropped and hospitals statewide saved an estimated $2 million in litigation expenses.

Coming To A Hospital Near You? Maybe, Maybe Not

While promptly apologizing and willingly compensating victims may seem like an obvious choice for hospitals to make, it will likely take many years and intense effort before it becomes commonplace across the country.

In the meantime, don’t hesitate to consult an attorney if you suspect you may have been injured by medical malpractice. You could be left waiting for an apology forever, but a lawyer can help you pursue the money you need today.


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