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Why Saying Sorry For Medical Malpractice Is The Right Thing To Do

Victim’s of medical malpractice at Chicago area hospitals should not expect an apology from those doctors or the hospital that is at fault for their injury. It has long been the custom and practice of Chicago area physicians to never dare to apologize or admit any mistakes, no matter how devastating.

Not so at the University of Michigan. Doctors there say that admitting their mistakes upfront and offering fair financial compensation saves time, money and hurt feelings. According to a 2009 article in the Journal Of Health And Life Sciences law, the effectiveness of taking responsibility of medical mistakes goes beyond common decency. According to the article, malpractice claims against a health system with a policy of offering early apologies and settlements fell from 121 in 2001 to 61 in 2006, while the backlog of open claims went from 262 in 2001 to 106 in 2006 and 83 in 2007. Between 2001 and 2007, the average time to process a claim fell from about 20 months to about eight months, costs per claim were halved and insurance reserves dropped by two-thirds.

There is evidence that this approach is catching on in the Chicago area. Apparently the University of Illinois is considering adopting an apologize and settler early approach to adjusting malpractice claims. This type of forward thinking makes sense from both a financial and humanitarian perspective.