When Hospitals Apologize for Errors, Lawsuits Drop
Posted May 19, 2008 7:54 AM CST
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Some hospitals are ignoring the traditional legal advice and apologizing for errors.
The result has been fewer lawsuits and lower legal costs, the New York Times reports.
Medical centers that have tried the new approach include Johns Hopkins and Stanford, the article says. These institutions promptly disclose medical errors, then offer apologies and fair compensation.
One of the first to try disclosure was the University of Michigan Health System. It reported 262 existing claims and lawsuits in 2001 before adopting the new policy, the story reports. Now only 83 cases are pending. The hospital has now reduced by two-thirds the money it sets aside for legal defense costs and claims payments.
Similarly, malpractice claims against the University of Illinois were cut in half just two years after it began its new disclosure approach.