Apologies in Medical Cases

A recent article on CNN highlights the difference it makes to a medical patient when the offending physician/institution apologizes versus when it refuses to acknowledge its error. In the case where a woman’s son died due to hospital error, the hospital immediately apologized, explained to her how it had occurred, provided some financial compensation, and invited the mother to help it take steps to ensure this wouldn’t happen again. In a different case where the physician removed the wrong rib, the physician tried to cover up the error, and now the patient is suing the physician and hospital. Her lawyer says the lawsuit isn’t about the mistake; it’s because no one ever apologized.

 

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