I’m Sorry

Personally, I am completely unsurprised that admitting and apologizing for medical mistakes is dramatically lowering the number of malpractice lawsuits. In any business, nothing compounds an injury more than the insult of “lawyering up”. A couple of years ago, we bought a water softener. The RO filter on our sink flooded the cabinet. Rather than dispute, the company (Ecowater) apologized, sent out a plumber to repair the damage free of charge and cut us a check to repair the cabinets. We probably wouldn’t have sued anyway, but their quick decision to make things right guaranteed we wouldn’t and kept us as loyal customers.

Yeah, customer service. Who’da thunk it?

Update: Thinking about this, I’ve watched first hand the evolution of malpractice defense. There was a time when the mantra was “settle settle settle” and malpractice lawsuits were always settled out of court because of the fear of a big verdict. But then the lawyers figured out that — surprise! — this encouraged lawsuits. Additionally, juries weren’t quite as dumb as everyone thought. So the strategy changed to “settle when you’ve clearly screwed up”.

The mantra of “deny and defend” has been in place for a while but it really made no sense. I’m glad to see someone finally realized it. It only took thirty years.

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