Hospitals Find Openness About Mistakes Improves Safety, Reduces Lawsuits

side note: This is an example that the Sorry Works program is often better for healthcare than litigious denial of medical malpractice. The issue always with an apology is making sure it doesn’t end up in the court room, it’s hard for a juror to “strike” that statement from their head when they hear it….even if they are told to by the Judge.

Medical News Today

“Medical errors kill as many as 98,000 Americans each year,” writes Laura Landro in the Wall Street Journal’s “Informed Patient” column. “Now, some hospitals are hoping to stem the tide of lawsuits by being more open with aggrieved patients and their families. While some experts warn that disclosure will lead to an increase in litigation and costs, there are some indications that patients are less likely to sue if they receive full disclosure and an apology, along with an offer of compensation.”

In one case, an infant girl bumped her head. Her mother took her to the emergency room at Baptist Children’s Hospital in Miami, where she was sedated to keep still for an MRI. While sedated, a breathing tube became dislodged. The child suffered a “crippling brain injury.” After settling with the family, the hospital used the episode as a case study for improving processes and preventing future errors. They also recruited the child’s parents as spokespeople for the improvement effort, and the girl’s mother is a community liaison for the “quality-and-patient-safety committee” (Landro, 8/25).

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