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Would medical malpractice claims go down if doctors said "sorry"?

Thousands of patients around the country every year are affected by surgical errors made by the medical professionals who are responsible for their care. For many of the people whose health has suffered because of a medical mistake, oftentimes the best -- and seemingly only -- route to achieve satisfaction is to demand compensation from the people and organizations at fault.

In many cases, hospitals and medical professionals are evasive when it comes to meeting with patients who have been wronged and their families. In one case representative of the experiences of many, a woman whose infant daughter died due to a delayed diagnosis had trouble connecting with the staff at the hospital. They promised to meet with her, she says, but the meetings always fell through.

A clerk later told her that there were no records of the baby's treatment, which proved to be false. The woman suspected the hospital was trying to hide something and eventually she filed a negligence suit against several doctors and nurses. The woman says if the staff had met with her initially as she requested, the process would not have broken down and she might not have filed a suit.

Of course, some people who have been affected by hospital mistakes will want to file a suit and seek compensation regardless of the willingness of doctors and nurses to meet and discuss the situation. An attorney experienced in medical malpractice claims can always serve as a resource for questions and advice about how to proceed with a suit if that is desired.

Source: The Boston Globe, "Medical malpractice: Why is it so hard for doctors to apologize?" Darshak Sanghavi, Jan. 27, 2013

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