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Sorry, Charlie

This article, “Doctors try new word: Sorry.” in the Chicago Tribune highlights the recent trend of “fess up” – doctors admitting when they make a mistake. Medical errors and traditions in medical practice are just some of the things we have learned more about as we have researched health care in the United States. Before reading this article I had not given much though to what happens when a medical error is made. According to the article it is generally not common for doctors and staff to discuss the error with the patient.

This article is also interesting because it notes that being honest about medical errors has been shown to reduce the number of malpractice suits. Perhaps for this reason alone, “I’m Sorry” laws – limiting the ability to use doctors’ apologies against them in malpractice suits – have been passed in 30 states.

Questions to be asked: Is the trend of honesty with patients being driven by doctors that what to do what is right or by hospitals that want to reduce lawsuits? How do we create a health care system where the best care is what drives doctors decisions, not the threat of law suits?

DOCTOR-PATIENT BOND FRAYS AFTER MEDICAL MISTAKE
by E.J. Mundell
HealthDay News
October 24, 2007

DOCTORS TRY NEW WORD: SORRY
by Judith Graham
The Chicago Tribune
August 19, 2007

Also check out http://www.medec.com/memag/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=111458 on the difference a little kindness makes.

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