Apology Changes Doc's Life; Training Needed in Medical Schools...
The Huffington Post recently published an essay by Kate McLean, MD, in which she shared the gripping story of an almost fatal surgical error and how her apology to the patient was life-changing. I will leave my summary of the article at that -- it is definitely worth a read and sharing with colleagues and friends. Click here for a link to the article.
To be frank, I have heard and read countless stories of this ilk over my 14+ years of doing this work. It's gratifying to hear this stuff...we are making progress. However, what lept out to me in Dr. McLean's story was the following text:
"It was the biggest mistake I had ever made, but I hadn’t been taught how to talk to patients about complications in medical school, and I’d never actually seen a supervisor apologize to a patient before. Was that because of a fear of being sued? Or because there’s this expectation that doctors are perfect? Either way, bringing it up felt like breaking some kind of unwritten rule."
There are so many areas where disclosure needs to make progress, including medical school curriculum and the training offered in residency programs.
A recent British Medical Journal opinion piece reinforced this need for training of young physicians: "Training would help to address this very human factor and I would encourage teaching programmes to incorporate sessions on when and how to deliver the duty of candour, especially in surgical and procedure based specialties."
To this end, Sorry Works! is embarking on research projects to study what is being taught about disclosure & apology in medical schools and residency programs. We recently announced that the medical school project was funded by the Mag Mutual Foundation. We also have some funding in place for the residency program project and are seeking additional grants/donations.
Have a great weekend!
Doug Wojcieszak, Founder
618-559-8168 (direct dial)