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Thursday, October 26, 2017

After medical error, apology goes a long way

Science Daily
Originally posted October 2, 2017

Summary: Discussing hospital errors with patients leads to better patient safety without spurring a barrage of malpractice claims, new research shows.

In patient injury cases, revealing facts, offering apology does not lead to increase in lawsuits, study finds

Sometimes a straightforward explanation and an apology for what went wrong in the hospital goes a long way toward preventing medical malpractice litigation and improving patient safety.

That's what Michelle Mello, JD, PhD, and her colleagues found in a study to be published Oct. 2 in Health Affairs.

Mello, a professor of health research and policy and of law at Stanford University, is the lead author of the study. The senior author is Kenneth Sands, former senior vice president at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Medical injuries are a leading cause of death in the United States. The lawsuits they spawn are also a major concern for physicians and health care facilities. So, hospital risk managers and liability insurers are experimenting with new approaches to resolving these disputes that channel them away from litigation.

The focus is on meeting patients' needs without requiring them to sue. Hospitals disclose accidents to patients, investigate and explain why they occurred, apologize and, in cases in which the harm was due to a medical error, offer compensation and reassurance that steps will be taken to keep it from happening again.

The article is here.

The target article is here.