Comments on ‘How doctors can reduce medical errors, lawsuits’

January 23, 2012    |   By: Calevir

Medical malpractice is a constant concern for doctors, says Dr. Kevin Pho, known for his blog KevinMD.com.   Depending on the type of medicine practiced, most or all doctors will face a lawsuit during their careers.   Probably the greatest point in Dr. Pho’s January 23 USA Today article, How doctors can reduce medical errors, lawsuits, is what we all know – but need to be reminded of often.   No one wants medical mistakes!   The point which is a close second for its wisdom is that saying “I’m sorry” works.

But might a doctor fear the idea of making an apology for legal reasons?   Is legal protection necessary in order for a doctor to say “I’m sorry”?   Whether needed or not, at least 36 states have passed legislation protecting apologies from being used against doctors in court.

Pho correctly addresses the main fact, however, that transparency is the key to an open, trusting and healthy doctor- patient relationship, not unnecessary expensive tests and lawsuits, or silence for that matter.   While many insurers advise doctors not to talk to their patients about errors, Pho correctly states they should disclose their mistake, apologize and, when appropriate and through mutual agreement, compensate injured patients.

 

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