Posted tagged ‘docs and apologies’

Country Doc Rule Number Three- Apologies are Necessary

July 27, 2009

        Years ago there was a movie (was it ‘Love Story’?) where there was a line that said, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

        I’m not so sure that is true in love.  If I forget to take out the garbage I tell my wife I’m sorry.  I can be a dumb man testosterone poisoned lug at times, but with all she does for me I figure it is the least I can do.

        I am certain a ‘no apology’ policy is not good practice as a Doc.  When things go wrong, at least we can say we are sorry.  And I think we owe to to folks to try to figure out why and how it wrong if we can.  I will tell you that is not always easy and often requires some study, but I at least promise folks I’ll work on it.

          Some people say Docs shouldn’t apologize, and that it might make them more at risk for litigation.  Well if that’s true, so be it.  The truth is the truth, even if hard to find at times, and and we should always search for it.

         And if you want to get practical about it, most of the big shots believe it lowers the risk anyway.  It’s a good thing, ’cause I can’t be any other way.

        Like all Docs I’ve had to do a few depositions along the way.  Each time the truth proved to be a powerful ally.  It never let me down, and things worked out fine each time.

        So, at least as far as this Doc goes love means it is best to say you’re sorry if things go wrong.  I don’t give  d@^# as to the assignment of individual blame.  That makes no difference to me.  The main thing is to try to figure out how to tweak the  system and lower the odds a bad event might happen again.  I don’t view apology as a sign of weakness,  although I know some folks do. 

        Julius and I are going to make this our lesson plan for a few days.  While he has been here things have gone well.  But I am in a lower profile job now that I am older.  When I was working day and night it is a wonder more didn’t go wrong than what did.  He is considering a career as a hospitalist, so he might as well start to ponder the issue now rather than later.

         What do you guys think?  I hope you’ll let me know.  As my agent said in the beginning, “Son you are going to learn a lot from your readers.”

Dr. B

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