Friday, 31 August 2007

Doctors urged to apologize when they make a mistake

Filed under:

According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, until recently, medical mistakes were rarely discussed and almost never admitted to patients due to physicians' pride and fear of malpractice lawsuits. However, that mindset may be beginning to change, as leading patient safety organizations call for full disclosure of medical errors and some hospitals change to an "honesty is best" policy.

Such organizations working for this change include the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and the National Quality Forum.

According to a study cited in the article, although all doctors say they want to be honest, fewer than half actually reveal serious errors that they have made. One of the biggest obstacles to disclosure is the fear of lawsuits and more than 30 states have passed 'apology laws' that bar apologies by physicians being used against physicians in court.

However, according to the article, most lawyers and doctors remain fearful and insurance companies usually insist that doctors break off all direct communications with patients after medical mistakes happen.

No comments: