Why don’t most physicians apologize for making mistakes?

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

February 3, 2010

Even though much progress has been made since the first studies showing that physicians apologizing after an error can help with outcomes, many physicians rarely utter the words "I'm sorry" after an error occurs, according to American Medical News. Thirty-five states have laws that protect physicians when they admit to making a mistake via an apology, and The Joint Commission requires hospitals to inform patients of adverse events. However, protection for physicians involved in an error can vary from state to state, and malpractice concerns often impede on physician apologies, according to the article.

Offering an apology for a medical error may be more likely to keep patients from taking a case to court, according to the article. However, many hospitals and physicians hesitate to do so because of the fear of the an apology being used as an admission during a malpractice trial.

To read more from American Medical News, click here.