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Will Ohio Doctors Say “It’s My Fault”?

Posted by Andrew J. Barovick | Dec 01, 2014 | 0 Comments

Words can mean a lot when patients are injured or killed by medical malpractice.  First came the phrase, “I'm sorry,” which I discussed just over one year ago in this post.   Even the medical establishment has recognized the true value of an apology, as they have come to acknowledge that medical malpractice lawsuits are not fueled by greed , but by anger at the failure to even offer these words of comfort after lives have been derailed.

So let's move on to the next logical phrase. What would happen if doctors began acknowledging fault after making mistakes , particularly mistakes that caused serious injury or death?  Ohio physicians are pushing for a law that would allow them to own up to errors, but would prevent such admissions from being used in court.  Proponents of such legislation say that it could defuse the anger and resentment of victims of malpractice, since often, what they value most is a full explanation of what happened to them.  Therefore, acknowledging that a mistake was made could lessen lawsuit filings. On the other hand, opponents feel such a law would be unethical, as the admission cannot be used in court, and would present a distorted view of the evidence at trial.

At first glance, the proposed law seems a bit too favorable for doctors and hospitals. If such acknowledgments result in fewer medical malpractice lawsuits, that is not necessarily a bad thing–if, and only if,victims are compensated in alternative ways, such as quick settlements that start them on the road to recovery.  Such admissions might also facilitate actual learning from mistakes, as more, and more open discussion would lead to less stigmatism of those who make them, making the sharing of lessons learned easier to do.

What do you think?

About the Author

Andrew J. Barovick

Mr. Barovick is a graduate of Columbia College and Cardozo School of Law. He began his legal career at the Queens District Attorney’s Office, where he tried over 20 felonies to verdict, and argued an equal number of appeals before the Appellate Division, Second Department, the New York Court of Appeals and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

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REPRESENTATIVE VERDICTS & SETTLEMENTS:

$7.9 million dollars for infant client who suffered severe brain injuries due to post- delivery medical malpractice.

$500,000 wrongful death/medical malpractice settlement on behalf of patient brought to hospital emergency room with serious injuries who suffered complications while unmonitored and died.

$425,000 wrongful death/medical malpractice settlement during trial on behalf of senior hospital patient whose surgeon failed to timely address her worsening symptoms, resulting in her death.

$250,000 to young man whose physician failed to diagnose an impending torsion testicle, causing the loss of the affected testicle.

$200,000 to young mother whose OB/GYN failed to timely diagnose and treat her ectopic pregnancy, resulting in excruciating, long-term pain and the need for surgery to address the ectopic pregnancy once it was diagnosed.

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