Mediation has been cited as a way to lower the cost of litigation and compensate injured patients without going through the ordeal of a trial. In a post from the WSJ Health Blog, the problem is that few doctors are participating.
That’s a problem. A study from a law journal looked at 31 cases that went to mediation and found that,
of those cases, 16 were settled at mediation, 5 settled afterward and 10 weren’t settled. While defense attorneys were less likely to agree to mediation than plaintiff attorneys, lawyers who did participate reported satisfaction with the process, as did “plaintiffs, hospital representatives and insurers,” the study finds.
The authors write that in no cases did physicians participate in the mediation.
Many times, patients resort to suing their physicians simply to find out what happened. In a recent post here, attorney Brian Nash provided perspective from the legal standpoint, and in the comments (now 150+ strong), you can see the dissonance between the malpractice viewpoints of the physician, attorney, and patient. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at KevinMD.com*
An often overlooked tool in health care providers’ struggle with the malpractice crisis is the medical apology. Two thirds of the states provide some form of protection for the medical apology (i.e., a simple apology is not admissible in court as an admission of culpability), and settlements reached post-apology are almost invariably lower than they would be otherwise. (In the current environment, articles on medical apologies are popping up everywhere … even in the NY Times business section.)
It is important to note that an effective apology policy does not stop with the simple apology — I’m sorry that this happened to you — but must include a commitment to conduct a root cause analysis, to communicate the results to the patient and/or patient’s family, to implement systems improvements based on the results of the root cause analysis, and to offer a specific apology once the analysis is complete, and an offer of monetary compensation if the provider or its systems were at fault. Of course, it’s easier to describe these steps than to actually carry them out. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at HealthBlawg :: David Harlow's Health Care Law Blog*