In my family, when you make a mistake, tell a lie, hurt someone, you apologize for it.
In Massachusetts, the legislature is trying to create a law that allows doctors to do the same thing, without fear the apology will end up before a jury as an admission.
We have similar legislation in Virginia – but sadly, defense attorneys instruct their clients NOT to say they are sorry… and honestly, this causes more lawsuits.
We have numerous clients that say to us “if only the doctor / nursing home had apologized for their mistake, we wouldn’t be here.” There is something to be said for feeling someone is taking responsibility for their actions and mistakes. Something else to feel as if the wrongdoer is regretful, and will not soon forget the pain they caused. Basically, we want all professionals to take responsibility for their actions. That is why so many file lawsuits – to force some acceptance of responsibility.
So I say – pass that law Mass! Allow doctors and medical professionals to say they are sorry, and I believe you will see fewer lawsuits. Clients often feel like their physicians do not care – doctors, nurses everywhere – please prove them wrong. You will put me out of a job, but maybe that is a good thing.