The Case for “Apology Laws” in Healthcare
One of the biggest arguments against an apology law is that when negligence occurs healthcare professionals should be held accountable. However, this is not hindered by an apology law. All an apology law provides is the ability for a physician to apologize for an outcome, no matter the cause, without that apology being used to prove guilt.
Every once in a while, you see litigation end with an apology. Ford agreed to send representatives to the bedside of victims of tire defects. Some mediations include personal conferences where apologies can serve as an icebreaker during a financial impasse in the negotiations. But nine times out of ten, the apology is in the size of the number paid, and the Releases signed contain stubborn refusals to take responsibility otherwise. That is the nature of the business I’ve been in for the last thirty-five years.
Bedside manner and etiquette may seem to have no place in the hostile litigation world. But take it from a fully committed professional – many great tragedies could have been avoided and millions saved if we treated each other more like human beings.