Jul 28, 2009

The doctors and lawyers of the University of Michigan Health System have decided that the way to handle a mistake is to admit the mistake, to apologize and to offer compensation.  It is an interesting approach but it is unlikely to hold doctors truly accountable for their mistakes.

This approach to medical malpractice may be too simplistic and may put too much faith in doctors’ willingness to admit their mistakes, learn from them and change their ways.  Often, the only way doctors are held accountable for their mistakes is through medical malpractice litigation.

A medical malpractice case forces a doctor to confront the mistakes he or she made. An impartial jury hears all of the evidence and determines the plaintiff’s damages.  A doctor is more likely to be concerned about the publicity and possible damages of a medical malpractice trial than about a quick private apology with an offer to fix the mistake.

Medical malpractice cases are designed to keep doctors in check.  The consequences of a medical malpractice can be significant and there is a desire among the medical community to avoid such cases.  Therefore, doctors are often more careful and provide better medical care in an effort to avoid being sued.  I’m not sure the same can be said for a system that allows a doctor to apologize and quietly offer to right his wrong.

If you accept any settlement offered by a doctor of medical facility you can assume that the settlement is favorable to the doctor, not to you, and that you will forego your rights to a medical malpractice case.  Therefore, it is important to consult with a top Illinois medical malpractice attorney to discuss your medical malpractice case as soon as possible after your injury.