Verbal Apology and Physical Pain

Hospitals shine light on mistakes by publicly saying: "We're sorry"

American Medical News

By Kevin B. O'Reilly, AMNews staff. Aug. 11, 2008.

Copyright 2008 American Medical Association

[Note about link: AMNews only keep articles available free on line for 90 days, after that some articles have to be paid for.]

Intro From Article

Health care executives say the disclosures can solidify public trust and help improve patient safety. Some doctors worry about the public exposure.


Some hospitals in the US are introducing a policy of publicly admitting any mistakes and errors their professional staff make. Advocates of patient care believe that this is a step forward in health care, but some professional thinks that this policy only helps lawyers and negative reporting. Not everyone agrees that such publicity helps.


The important aspect here is that some hospitals are officially admitting to mistakes and errors. Saying is sorry, must surely be an important act of communication. But this can only be the first step and an opportunity to really improve health care. In the article there are suggestions on how safety lessons can be passed on within the profession.

AHRQ WebM&M (Morbidity and Mortality Rounds on the Web) is the online journal and forum on patient safety and health care quality. This Journal was mentioned in the article. ( )


There is a clear distinction between a verbal apology and the physical distress and maybe pain of the patient. And although humans do make mistakes, this is not a justification for not introducing policies that try to prevent mistakes.

Tags: mistakes, medical errors, sorry, apology, communication

No comments: