More Hospitals Owning Up to Mistakes

June 10, 2013 | Crandall & Pera Law
More Hospitals Owning Up to Mistakes

While medical mistakes may be difficult for doctors to admit, more hospitals are wisely writing error disclosures into their facilities' policies to avoid similar lapses in the future. 

From 2002 to 2005 the proportion of hospitals with disclosure policies doubled to 70 percent, according to a 2007 New England Journal of Medicine article. In 2006, a working group representing Harvard-affiliated hospitals established that a disclosure policy must include three elements: the provider must take responsibility, apologize and discuss preventive measures with the patient or the family.

Traditional attitudes and practices regarding medical errors are finally changing, with policymakers, doctors and other providers realizing that errors are often systemic problems rather than incidental lapses and should not only be treated as a problem if a patient sues.

As Dr. Manoj Jain writes in a recent article in The Washington Post, "Errors were considered incidental lapses and used as teaching points among residents; we were not to discuss them with patients unless absolutely necessary...If patients' families had questions, we were to be vague with our responses, essentially brushing them off." Read the full article here:

Medical errors are hard for doctors to admit, but it's wise to apologize to patients

Doctors should be commended for admitting when they have made a mistake. Unfortunately, it is more often the case that a doctor will only admit their mistake when it has caused little to no injury. If there has been a significant injury, often times the corporate entities that oversee and own most physicians' practices have strict policies in place prohibiting a doctor from admitting wrongdoing. This can result in years of litigation before the doctor and/or his or her corporate owner are forced by a jury to accept responsibility.

If you have been injured due to medical malpractice please call to investigate your matter fully. Crandall & Pera Law is available to help answer your questions and guide you in determining your next steps.