Friday, November 21, 2008

Saying Sorry

The staff who work in the hospital still are not very quick to say “I’m sorry” if there was an injury or death because of their medical care. They will say “I’m sorry” if the patient died from cancer, old age or a car accident. But, bring a fairly healthy person into the hospital to get a routine procedure that leads to infection, and then death, chances are you will not hear an apology. Why is this?

I don’t have the answers. Unfortunately it seems inhumane – but it’s not illegal.

Recently I had the honor of accompanying 3 mothers of young children who had bad experiences in a local hospital to visit with the state Department of Health. They were not only angry about the care (or lack of care) received but also at the way the state handled their complaint(s).

It’s not easy getting an appointment to visit with the people who make the decisions on how our state runs but I thought our time was used well.

Following the 90 minute meeting, one of the people in the room shook the hand of one of the moms and said “I’m sorry”. Words that many survivors of medical injury hope to one day hear. She was relieved and impressed that he spoke those words.

“No one has ever said that to me” she said on the car ride home.

If there is still trouble in expressing remorse, than how can we dare trust these same people to make life saving decisions for us. Do they care if we live or die? If they care than they should feel free to show it. They can cry, laugh and for goodness sake say “I’m sorry”!

1 comment:

lt said...

Saying "I'm sorry is the first step. A sincere apology brings with it disclosure and the courage to make amends when it is in your power to do so. Both sides benefit. Healing begins and changes can be made.