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Sorry Works! Blog

Making Disclosure A Reality For Healthcare Organizations 

Identifying and Fighting Passive Resistance to Disclosure

When I was first giving Sorry Works! presentations 10 years ago, it was not uncommon to have an attorney, doctor, or claims manager stand up and debate me. They would say disclosure was a horrible idea, and then utter some not-so-nice things about me. I don't have this problem anymore. In fact, I firmly believe if a lawyer or doctor treated me this way today they probably would be fired. We've made progress! However, these detractors have not totally gone away. Yes, some have been converted, but a handful have gone underground. How do you identify them? Well, these folks blow their cover with the following comments:

"We shouldn't do disclosure on this case...maybe the next case."

"The doctors aren't ready for this.....they're uncomfortable....let's wait."

"Pay for the mistake now? We can't just throw in the towel on this case! Let's do a few depositions, some discovery, and drag things out...maybe the family or their lawyer will grow tired and quit."

"You know...we're so busy around the hospital...we don't have time for disclosure right now...maybe next year."

"We'll say 'I'm sorry,' but we're not paying a nickel."

"But, I don't have control over what the nurses will say...I'm uncomfortable with that."

"Don't say anything to the family unless a lawyer calls...maybe they'll just go away."

"We can't risk somebody saying the wrong thing!"

You know, a good counter to these comments is to ask, "Well, how would you want your family treated? What if the patient was your wife, child, or sibling?" I once did this to attorney who was trying to throw sand in the gears and he literally slammed down the phone on me.

When you do disclosure you have to do it all the time, and on every case. You can't cherry pick cases, or play games with consumers or clinicians. Confront the passive resistance, work to bring these detractors into the fold, and, in a few instances, you may have to let some people go. Your disclosure culture is not open to debate or negotiation.

To speed the development of your disclosure program and overcome the hurdles, consider a Sorry Works! presentation for your staff and leadership. For more information, call Doug Wojcieszak at 618-559-8168 or e-mail doug@sorryworks.net.

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