SHOULD HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS ADMIT THEIR MISTAKES AND APOLOGIZE?

I think so don’t you? Isn’t that what we teach our children? Admit when you are wrong and say you are sorry! Now, there is a national movement to encourage healthcare professionals to follow such simple rules when their errors constitute medical negligence and the patient is injured as a result. The group calls itself “The Sorry Works Coalition.”

“Sorry Works” encourages doctors and their insurers to be honest when mistakes happen, offer apologies, and provide compensation up-front to patients and their attorneys. While the number of settlements increases and more victims receive justice, this approach removes the anger that often leads to lawsuits and it reduces settlement and defense costs.

The “Sorry Works” full-disclosure approach was first developed in the late 80’s by Dr. Steve Kraman, Chief of Staff of Veterans Administration Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, and VA attorney Ginny Hamm. The full-disclosure approach was developed after the Lexington VA hospital lost two large lawsuits. Aside from the financial considerations, Dr. Kraman and his staff did not like how lawsuits turned doctors and patients into enemies. It was not the way they wanted to run a hospital. So, Dr. Kraman and Ms. Hamm developed a system where all deaths and unanticipated outcomes were reviewed internally. If a mistake or error was found, the patient and/or family would be quickly contacted, encouraged to retain an attorney, and a meeting was scheduled. An apology and answers would be provided and a settlement would be offered. The hospital attorney and plaintiffs’ attorney could negotiate a fair settlement and the case would be closed in a matter of months.

Read more about this interesting organization here.

Dan Frith

Dan Frith

Dan Frith has over 25 years of experience representing individuals and families in cases of medical malpractice throughout Virginia. He has been named "Best Medical Malpractice Attorney" by Roanoker Magazine and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To speak with Dan, contact him by email at dfrith@frithlawfirm.com.