Once an X-ray provided proof in black and white, Dr. Das Gupta, the 74-year-old chairman of surgical oncology at the University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago, did something that normally would make hospital lawyers cringe: he acknowledged his mistake to his patient’s face, and told her he was deeply sorry.
“After all these years, I cannot give you any excuse whatsoever,” Dr. Das Gupta, now 76, said he told the woman and her husband. “It is just one of those things that occurred. I have to some extent harmed you.”
Hospitals and doctors are taking a different approach to stave off malpractice suits. They are admitting mistakes and hoping the social interaction will lower the costs associated with the lawsuits. It will be interesting to see how the market accepts the attempts at reeling in costs. The healthcare industry, in general, and physicians, especially, are loath to admit any mistakes. I wonder (and highly doubt) that an entire industry built on covering up and hiding mistakes is going to change because a few hospitals and doctors are admitting mistakes.