It is similar to the personal-injury case where, if a person slips and falls because something has been improperly constructed, we don’t want to leave the poor construction out there for other people to slip and fall.
We want the builder to make the correction, and something we call the “Doctrine of Subsequent Remedial Measures” forbids the corrective measure from being introduced into the court proceeding.
What is good for slip-and-fall cases ought to be good for doctors as well.
The right approach goes a long way, according to David Studdert, who teaches about patient safety at the University of Melbourne in Australia.
“If we can’t prevent these things, then at least we have to be forthright with people when they occur,” Studdert said.
The University of Illinois now spends time teaching medical students how to apologize.
Doctors in training are now being taught in school how to be forthright with a patient in an attempt to make things right. I think this is a wonderful idea that has been overdue.
CHARLES J. UNGER is a criminal defense attorney in the Glendale law firm of Flanagan, Unger & Grover, and a therapist at the Foothill Centre for Personal and Family Growth. He may be reached at (818) 244-8694 or at www.charlieunger.com.