Could The Medical Malpractice System Be Changed By Hearing Doctors Apologize?


Could the words “I’m sorry” have the power to revolutionize the current complicated, emotionally charged, and costly method of handling medical malpractice claims?  Recent research and medical industry professions believe that they will.  Disclosure experiments around the country indicate that it will.

Under the current system, victims of medical malpractice are often left feeling confused, angry, grieving, and without closure.  For years most doctors have been taught to remain silent when faced with a negligence claim because of fear of exposure to liability or that they may reveal a weakness that may leave their reputation tainted.  Administrators also get caught up in the financial ramifications of the medical malpractice lawsuit that they miss the systemic issues that may still be putting patients in harm’s way.

There are some hospitals across the country that have introduced the radical idea of having doctors admit their medical mistakes or “unintended outcomes,” even if the patient was not harmed as a result of the medical malpractice.  Supporters of this disclosure-based system believe that it has helped slash legal costs, improve patient safety, and improve the satisfaction of patients.  One example of a disclosure policy has three components:

  • The health care provider needs to assume responsibility for the error, mistake, oversight, negligence, or unintended outcome.
  • Have the responsible doctor, nurse, tech, or administrator apologize to the patient.
  • Discuss how to prevent a similar incident from occurring in the future.

Massachusetts is very dedicated to this approach.  They require that patients send a “letter of intent,” putting providers on notice that a lawsuit is forthcoming.  Additionally, a physician’s apology cannot be used against him or her in court.  There is also a six-month waiting period where settlement negotiations occur prior to when a lawsuit can be filed.

Similar programs have been instituted elsewhere, providing patients with piece of mind and reasonable settlements.  If you or a loved one has been injured due to medical malpractice and have been offered a settlement, contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney to review the settlement offer.  This will provide you with peace of mind that you are receiving fair compensation for your damages.

But what do you think?  I would love to hear from you!  Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at  You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at