want to avoid a lawsuit admit your mistakes

Medical malpractice is in the hot seat again this week on the Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Blog.

As discussed last week, roughly 25 percent of America’s healthcare costs arise from completely preventable medical errors. This number is based on empirical research, hard data collected by the hospitals themselves.

The problem is that, many times, injured patients have to go to court and force a confession, or at least prompt a settlement. Another study, covered here, showed a huge percentage of doctors unwilling to confront or report other physicians for perceived ineptitude or demonstrated incompetence. (See: Hospital Negligence and Error? Not Your Physician’s Problem)

In the rush to avoid blame or be perceived as a bad doctor, it seems that many have forgotten the simple power of an apology. Yes, there’s a study to back that up too.

Back in 2001, the University of Michigan Health System began encouraging doctors and other healthcare workers to own up to errors and created a system for admitting this to the affected family and explaining what happened.

Health workers also explained what steps were underway to prevent similar mistakes and, most importantly, offering fair and adequate compensation to the affected party.

The result?

The monthly rate of medical malpractice lawsuits against the hospital fell by about 50 percent, while the number of claims fell by 36 percent.

There will always be a need for medical malpractice attorneys because, in reality, some cases will require a court battle or at least experienced oversight. However, the perceived cost of malpractice suits can be assuaged.

All you have to do is be honest and admit mistakes.

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