Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers: “I’m Sorry” Laws

When a medical procedure goes wrong, doctors and hospital officials are often quick to “deny and defend” rather than acknowledge the medical mistake, for fear of being sued by the victim. However, that trend may be changing as more states adopt “I’m sorry” laws, which state that an apology for a medical mistake cannot be used against a doctor or medical professional in a court of law. In fact, evidence suggests that people are less likely to file medical malpractice charges if they feel that that they are being listened to, and more likely to negotiate a fair settlement.

When a surgeon at Yale New Haven Hospital removed the wrong body part during a surgical procedure, the patient sued the hospital, but not because of the surgical mistake. She decided to pursue legal action because she never received an official apology, or an explanation, for what went wrong. While a statement provided by Yale stated that it offered an apology to the victim, a spokesperson from the hospital would not provide details about what was said.

As the lawsuit in this case moves forward, the hospital may have been able to save a significant amount of money if it had simply apologized to the victim, explaining exactly what went wrong, and honored her request that the doctor who covered up the initial mistake not be allowed in the operating room during the follow up surgery. If this had happened after the medical error occurred, according to the victim, she would not have sued the hospital.

Acknowledge and Apologize

In 2009, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, near San Francisco, introduced its Process for Early Assessment and Resolution of Loss (PEARL), which encourages open communication, transparency, and integrity when it comes to patient interaction following a medical mistake. As of 2015, the hospital has seen a 27% decrease in money paid to compensate patients, and a 24% decrease in costs associated with defending lawsuits. According to vice president of claims and litigation for the Stanford University Medical Network Risk Authority, making patients whole again after a medical mistake is just as important as the money. When a hospital does not acknowledge a mistake, there is a missed opportunity to learn from that mistake, to honor the victim, and to choose truth and compassion over deny and defend.

Maryland Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Victims of Medical Mistakes

If you or a loved one has been injured due to a healthcare provider’s medical mistake, the highly skilled Maryland medical malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton are on your side. We will aggressively pursue the maximum financial compensation you deserve, ensuring that your rights are protected every step of the way. For a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.

Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent clients and their families throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.