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Apologies, compensation key to preserving patient-caregiver bond

Apologies, compensation key to preserving patient-caregiver bond

Apologizing to patients and offering financial compensation when medical errors occur not only benefit our health care system, but help preserve the patient-caregiver relationship (“Mass. hospitals promise openness, apologies: Settlements part of Mass. coalition’s bid to curb lawsuits,” Page A1, April 18).

We’ve heard far too many times from doctors and nurses who want to speak openly with patients and to apologize, only to be told they cannot or should not for fear of precipitating litigation. This compounds the suffering and sense of abandonment patients and their families experience as well as the pain, isolation, and moral distress of clinicians.

We have to preserve trust and caring patient-caregiver relationships if we really want to fix our imperfect health care system and enable the recovery of all those affected by a medical error.

Dr. Beth Lown
Medical director
The Schwartz Center for
Compassionate Healthcare