The value of "I'm sorry"

December 5, 2008
Morgan Lewis Jr.
Morgan Lewis Jr.

Nearly 90 percent of medical professionals believe patients are less likely to sue after a mistake if they receive an apology and explanation for the error.

Nearly 90 percent of medical professionals believe patients are less likely to sue after a mistake if they receive an apology and explanation for the error, according to a survey of British physicians and health-care providers.

Of the 700 clinicians questioned by the London-based Medical Protection Society, a legal services organization, 89 percent believed patients are more likely to complain now than five years ago, but more than 55 percent believe what motivates lawsuits is a desire for an apology and explanation.

Other motivations were the desire for compensation (24 percent), to see those involved punished (11 percent), or to prevent a recurrence (10 percent), according to the survey.