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Doctors refuse to apologize after removing wrong rib on woman


Every Pottsville residents makes mistakes from time to time. Everyone is human, after all, and a basic part of the human experience is making mistakes and learning from them. The important thing is that individuals understand how to make the situation right after a mistake, particularly when the mistake involves other individuals.

In the medical system, this simple concept has produced a staggering number of laws, and lawsuits. While doctors who make mistakes on their patients might be able to reduce further conflict by simply apologizing for their error, this often does not happen, which can leave the patient feeling even more violated when the doctor refuses to acknowledge the error that injured them.

For instance, one woman sued her surgeons after the physicians never told her they were sorry for the incident or explained how it happened. During a surgery, the woman's doctors had removed an incorrect rib. Instead of apologizing and explaining how the incident happened, the physicians reportedly were not straightforward with the woman, including in their explanation of why a second surgery was necessary.

While it can be frustrating and confusing why doctors refuse to apologize for serious surgical errors, injured patients have means of holding the physicians responsible through a medical malpractice action. The malpractice action can not only be a way to hold the hospital financially responsible for the errors, but it can also bring a measure of accountability, as doctors may change the way they do things to ensure that other patients are not injured in the same manner. Accordingly, there can be many goals to a medical malpractice case, and each case proceeds differently because of these differing goals for each person.

Source: CNN, "When a surgeon should just say 'I'm sorry'," Elizabeth Cohen, March 24, 2016

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