The Importance of Apologies in Medical Errors

On March 24th, CNN published an interesting piece on shocking medical mistakes and doctors, in general, failing to say “I’m sorry” after medical mistakes that result in severe injuries. In fact, a lot of the frustration and anger that ends up turning into medical malpractice litigation is based around this failure; as well as the victims never being told exactly how the mistake was made due to the “deny and defend” approach that has typically surrounded these mistakes.


Not only is it simply the right thing to do (to apologize and explain to a patient what was done and how it happened), but it’s also, in fact, the financially wise thing to do for the hospitals where these mistakes take place. According to the experts, when people feel like medical professionals are listening to them, they are much more likely to negotiate a settlement for whatever negligence resulted in their injury rather than let a medical malpractice case go to trial and result in a large award from a jury.


What Not To Do

Things get even messier for a facility when there is denial behind the mistake. Take, for example, litigation that Yale New Haven Hospital is currently facing due to allegedly removing the wrong body part from a patient; Yale has yet to admit the mistake even though the error is fairly obvious, and in addition, according to the patient, the doctor who made the mistake proceeded to lie to her to cover it up.


This is hard to believe given the simple demands that the patient made; namely making an apology to her, explaining how the error occurred, and ensuring that the same doctor involved in the alleged lie be kept out of the operating room during the patient’s second surgery. None of these things were done.


Progressive Resolution Programs

It’s hard enough when one of these errors happens to you; but when it happens to a young child, it can be especially difficult—if not impossible—to forgive and forget. Trends have shown that providing the victim with a full apology and an explanation of how the mistake occurred can make all the difference in the world, particularly if that victim feels assured that it won’t happen to someone else. Many people have no choice but to turn to attorneys to help them obtain justice after they feel both “deceived and abandoned” by the medical community.


And some of these resolution programs run by progressive hospitals like Stanford not only save money, but “make patients [feel] whole [again]” after preventable errors.


Medical Malpractice Attorneys in New Orleans

Medical malpractice doesn’t have to be an obvious, glaring mistake that results in death. It occurs whenever a patient is harmed because of a negligent act or omission by a doctor or other medical professional. This includes errors in diagnosis, treatment, illness management, etc.


Our New Orleans medical malpractice attorneys have years of experience ensuring that victims receive the compensation they deserve for medical errors. Contact us today for a free consultation and we’ll explain your options to you.