New York Personal Injury Law Blog » Medical Malpractice


April 11th, 2007

More Doctors Encouraged To Say "I’m Sorry"

A bill being considered by Rhode Island could mean they will join the ranks of other states that encourage doctors to apologize for mistakes. The story is here.

I’ve always believed, based on the manner in which calls come in to my office, that poor communication (bad bedside manner) is the primary reason patients call attorneys. They are angry, or confused, or both.

Which is why I found this particular quote at the end of the article really interesting…an insurance company that encourages more of the same thing that has gotten docs into trouble in the past…

Boston-based ProMutual Group, which insures 18,000 doctors, dentists and health care facilities in the Northeast, warns its clients against apologies that admit guilt — even in states that have laws protecting doctors who say they are sorry.

It distributes a tip sheet cautioning doctors against uttering the words “error,” “mistake,” “fault” or “negligence.”

“We encourage physicians to apologize about the outcome, not necessarily for any error that may have occurred,” ProMutual spokeswoman Nina Akerley said. “Apology is not about confession.”

Some folks never learn.