You trusted your physician to guide your medical care and help you make the best decisions for your well-being. You trusted their expertise, experience and skill.
Your trust was badly misplaced. Your doctor made a major mistake and you’re suffering the consequences. Since their responsibility is so clear, you expected your doctor to own up to their error and apologize — but that hasn’t happened.
Frankly, it probably never will.
There has been some movement toward having doctors express their sympathies to injured patients without necessarily admitting guilt — which is the difference between “I’m sorry this happened,” and “I’m sorry I made a mistake.” There are also laws in place in many jurisdictions that prevent patients from using a doctor’s apology in court if the patient sues.
So why don’t more doctors make an effort to apologize when they’ve injured a patient? Over 80% of the time, they figure that offering an apology won’t stop a lawsuit anyway, according to one physician survey. Some doctors apparently think that’s the only point in offering an apology.
Other doctors may figure that an apology may tip off the injury victim or their family members that malpractice occurred when they may be unaware that their “bad outcome” was entirely preventable. The doctor is afraid to stir the pot because litigation is always messy and expensive.
Finally, some physicians don’t apologize because the culture of their particular facility forbids it. The only way to retain their esteemed status in the eyes of their peers is to deny the mistake entirely — no matter how clearly they’re at fault.
If you or your loved one suffered a medical injury, find out what options you have for compensation.