August 05, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Many people learn as children that the proper thing to do when they injure another person is to apologize. When a doctor injures a patient, conventional wisdom has long held that the doctor should do just the opposite, since apologizing may be seen as admitting liability in a medical malpractice
lawsuit. Some hospitals have been changing the way they approach medical errors by developing medical apology programs However, while these programs may seem to be a more caring way to deal with medical errors that result in injuries and to put patients' needs at the forefront, critics allege that medical apology programs may actually do more harm than good for patients.
Apologizing for Medical Errors
The way that many medical apology programs operate is that once a hospital or health care facility becomes aware that a patient suffered an injury due to a care-provider error, the facility investigates. If the investigation shows that the provider was at fault for the injury, the patient and the health care provider will meet to discuss what happened. The patient can ask questions so he or she fully understands what went wrong. The health care provider apologizes and, in some circumstances, may offer limited financial compensation if the organization believes it is appropriate.
Limiting Patients' Options
Critics of medical apology programs claim that such programs are disingenuous. The programs seem to be pro-patient, but the real goal is to reduce the number of malpractice lawsuits filed against health care provider. A study of one medical apology program conducted in 2010 revealed that fewer patients made malpractice claims after the program began, and those who made claims received less money for similar injuries than patients had in the past.
Insurance company representatives and hospital representative communicate with patients and may make an offer of compensation to and attempt to convince the patient that the offer is fair and reasonable. Patients are not advised to seek outside legal counsel about the true value of their injury and what the compensation is intended to cover and not cover - some programs specifically prohibit patients from having legal representatives participate in the meetings.
Patient advocates fear that patients will be manipulated into taking settlement offers for far less than they are entitled for their injuries because they are unaware of the various elements of a personal injury claim and how much it will cost in the long run to care for their injuries. Such attempts to meet with patients and their families and to express what appears to be an empathetic response to the hospital's medical errors is truly intended to do damage control and to limit the cost of their errors and to reduce the likelihood of the patient receiving full value for their injury. Half justice is no justice. Make no mistake, the hospitals and insurance companies have a pretty good idea as to their upside exposure for the injuries caused and the aim is to limit what they have to pay and not to be fair and to fully compensate their injured patient.
Consult an Attorney
When a person is harmed by those who are supposed to heal, the results can be devastating. When a person is trying to figure out how to adjust to life with injuries resulting from medical malpractice, he or she is in no condition to battle with insurance companies. If someone was negligent and their negligence has caused permanent damage they should be held accountable and responsible. When someone does not do their job at work there are consequences. When we don't follow the law, there are consequences. It is no different when someone that we trust to treat our medical conditions doesn't follow the rules and is negligent, they should not receive a discount simply because they say they are sorry when the goal of such an apology is to be held less accountable. If you have suffered injuries as a result of health care provider error, seek a capable personal injury attorney who can help you recover just and proper compensation.
Article provided by Mishkin Law Firm
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