Hollywood actor James Woods setttled a medical malpractice case brought on behalf of his brother who died while he was a patient in the Emergency Room of Kent Hospital in Kent County, Rhode. The Providence Journal Online Edition is reporting that while the financial terms of the settlement are confidential, the hospital took the unusual step of apologizing to the Woods family for their mistake.
Woods said the impetus for the settlement came with a phone call from hospital president Sandra Coletta. In that call, he said he heard something he’d never heard from Kent Hospital before, someone saying she was sorry for his family’s loss.
It has been widely reported that apologizing for medical mistakes is the number one way a doctor or hospital can help curtail a medical malpractice claim. Often times patients and their families are looking for closure after the loss of a loved one. An apology is often the piece of the grief puzzle that helps wounds heal and allows people to move on after a tragedy.
For his part, Woods said the conclusion would give him, if not closure, some piece of mind about the meaning of his brother’s death. “It makes it possible for me to go to my brother’s grave and ask if I’ve done the right thing,” he said.