Sorry Works!

Sorry Works! Blog

Making Disclosure A Reality For Healthcare Organizations 

Question from the Road: Investigation?

March 31, 2011Doug Wojcieszak, Founder & Spokesperson Contact phone/e-mail address: 618-559-8168;


Last week, Sorry Works! made two presentations in California, one in Los Angeles with the Hospital Association of Southern California, and the other in Napa, CA for a large med-mal insurer. Both great audiences, and some great questions from the audiences I want to share with you over the next few days.

Question from Los Angeles: "When empathizing immediately after the event with the patient/family immediately, should we use the word 'investigation' to describe what comes next, or use a different word? Some people say that using the word 'investigation' implies that there was a mistake in care, when maybe the event was simply a known risk."

Short answer: It depends!

Every situation is different, and you do need to consider your words. For me, I like the word "investigation" because it does show you are taking the situation seriously. Conversely, I think you need to avoid "mush statements" like "We'll look into it," which is code for "We are going to blow you off and hope you never complain again."

However, I can see where in some situations the word "investigation" could be taken the wrong maybe consider words like "study" or "research" the situation. Bottom line, however, you need to show leadership with your words and begin to restore confidence in the patient and family. Remember, we are trying to rebuild a relationship post-event, and words and actions matter!

For more information on Sorry Works!, including Sorry Works! presentations for your physicians and staff, please call 618-559- 8168 or e-mail


- Doug

Doug Wojcieszak, Founder Sorry Works! PO Box 531 Glen Carbon, IL 62034 618-559-8168 (direct dial) (direct e-mail)