Revenge versus Apology: Washington Post Story
The Washington Post recently ran an interesting story about revenge and how it can potentially be harmful to people. The article suggests we are hardwired for revenge going back to our cave man days, but peer-reviewed studies show that those who seek and even get revenge often feel worse then they did after the original harm. Revenge can apparently mess with your mind and spirit. Maybe that's why many of us learned in Sunday school that "Vengeance is my saith the Lord."
In our field, how often have we seen or heard about plaintiffs feelings empty and rudderless, even after receiving a big check? I'll never forget the story of a young widow who despite receiving that big check felt horrible when the doctors turned their back on her on the court house steps.
The Washington Post story contained an interesting quote, "What the angry mind ultimately wants is a change of heart from the transgressor," and then the rest of the article went onto to discuss the apology and disclosure movement in healthcare and also other examples of apology.
The author concluded that "victims" or injured parties must create the condition for an apology to be offered, and be open to healing power of "sorry" without giving a total free pass to the offending party.
Yes, apology is a two-way street, and patients and families do need to further educated to take their first step back to the doctor after something goes wrong (which is what Sorry Works! wants to spend more time doing next year). However, at this point I believe the onus is still on hospitals, nursing homes, and insurers to take that first step with the patient or family after something goes wrong. And perhaps this Washington Post article is another tool or resource to share with your patients and families. Do you want apology and a fair, upfront offer including monetary compensation that should be reviewed by your own attorney, or go fight for three or four years? Do you want to experience revenge or move on with your life?
We have to continue to be leaders with disclosure. I hope this article is another useful tool for you....
Doug Wojcieszak, Founder