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The legal world lost a great cross-examiner when Steven I. Kern, JD, passed away January 10. And Medical Economics lost a great columnist.
Steve was a tenacious advocate for physicians as a writer and editorial consultant for Medical Economics, too. We-and you-always could count on him to address legal and malpractice-related issues of vital importance to you-and to bring his knowledgeable perspective to those issues.
A case in point is a Malpractice Consult column he wrote about the legal ramifications facing you and your colleagues when you apologize for medical errors. Examining two recently published studies, the column appeared in our September 24, 2010, issue. Taken at face value, the results of one of the studies seemed to support apology and disclosure policies as not only ethical requirements but also as a means to reduce the costs of malpractice. As Steve pointed out, however, the rather unique environment of the study setting, as well as the results of the other research reviewed, demonstrated that "physicians continue to face serious exposure if they apologize or even express sympathy for an unexpected adverse result."
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