•  
  •  
 

Article Title

On Apology

Authors

Robert Ward

Abstract

On February 16, 2006, Dr. Aaron Lazare, Dean and Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, addressed an assembly at the Southern New England School of Law on his critically acclaimed book entitled: “On Apology!” According to Dr. Lazare, to be an effective apology, there must be acknowledgement, remorse, explanation and reparation. Dr. Lazare advances the hypothesis that the current proliferation of cases in our legal system is predicated on the concept that often the aggrieved party was not the beneficiary of an effective apology. In the context of the patient-physician relationship, an effective apology means telling the patient about the injury, along with the physician’s regret for the adverse outcome. Explaining what went wrong and why and offering to make the patient whole, whether that includes additional treatment or monetary relief to cope with the injury. Unfortunately, the law may inadvertently perpetuate the system of ineffective apologies because of a doctor’s fear that saying “I’m sorry” will be treated as a damaging admission of liability by a party opponent at trial.

Share

COinS
 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.