Mistakes Happen

June 26, 2013

Mistakes happen.

There’s a divergence of opinion on the question of whether or not to apologize or express sorrow over a healthcare error.

Will it lead to increased chances of malpractice litigation and be construed as an admission of liability? Thirty-six states, including California and Texas, have enacted laws protecting certain expressions of sorry and remorse from being admissible in court.

Recently, I was on an American Airlines flight. A flight attendant carrying a tray with a filled red wine glass lost her balance and dumped the wine on my shoulder, down my back and onto, well, my, err, seat. She immediately and profusely apologized and said that she’d get me a cleaning voucher. I smiled and told her that it was OK. She told me that most passengers would have screamed at her or threatened to get her fired.

Mistakes happen, and it’s often how the mistake maker, not the “victim,” reacts that makes the difference in the outcome.

If your state immunizes apologies, does your group have a policy on when, how and what to say? Let’s talk about it.

Leave a Reply