In the spirit of forgiveness:

Since todays theme appears to be on forgiveness, I wanted to note that some states have passed or are passing “I’m Sorry” legislation . It generally seems like a good idea. I was told repeatedly in Law School that anytime an injured person says, “It isn’t about the money”, then you could be sure it was about the money. Actually, I was taught it was ALWAYS about the money. I suspect that at some point in an injured person’s attempts to make sense of what has happened and get some sense of justice, it does become about the money. I am not yet jaded enough to believe it is always about the money.

Mistakes happen in any professional service industry. This includes the medical field. However, not all mistakes are due to negligence. Also, not all bad outcomes are due to mistakes.

The “I’m Sorry” is very appropriate for when a bad outcome happens absent mistakes or when a mistake has occurred, but it was not one that amounts to negligence. I suspect that a sincere expression of empathy and compassion, plus an explanation, would go a very long way to resolving complaints. It would have to happen early on, before the injured person’s heart is hardened with anger. When there was actual negligence, a case will not turn on whether or not the physician offered an apology. There will be records and experts testifying. So, there does not appear to be much of a downside to this type of law. I’ll vote for it!

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