Just Say 'Sorry' — And Send The Lawyers Home

When it comes to medical errors, could the age-old practice of 'defend and deny' be over? Perhaps.

New research out of Brigham and Women's Hospital shows that when doctors admit mistakes, and apologize to patients and their families, fewer lawsuits follow, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.

This idea isn't new. In fact, I wrote about it for The Wall Street Journal back in 2004, in a front page story, Doctors' New Tool Against Lawsuits: Saying 'I'm Sorry.'

But actually getting doctors to admit mistakes remains painful and fraught. Here's a first person account by a resident who nearly killed a patient, published in HealthAffairs, that shows how agonizing this process can be.

This program aired on August 20, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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Rachel Zimmerman Reporter
Rachel Zimmerman previously reported on health and the intersection of health and business for WBUR. She is working on a memoir about rebuilding her family after her husband’s suicide. 



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