Hospitals nationwide are currently implementing medical error apology programs. Healthcare group advocates are proactively pushing these programs to encourage doctors and their insurers to openly disclose medical negligence errors along with physician apology for personal injury and proactive voluntary offering of monetary compensation to injured patients for breaching standard of care.
While every hospital is unique, the standard concept of each program remains the same – If the patient accepts the apology and compensation, the patient cannot legally pursue filing subsequent civil actions. The program’s goal is to minimize negligent errors, reduce hospital costs and decrease the threat of litigation.
The programs are not intended to improve patient safety or provide advanced care for those injured. While the incentive towards accountability is to be applauded, injured patients by medical negligence still deserve fair monetary compensation for their injuries, just as the patient should recognize that the program does not sway or obstruct them from seeking representation for justice.