Cardiologist Dr. Sandeep Jauhar recollects his painful 'oopsy' moment after misdiagnosing a patient's critical heart condition in the New York Times article, Explain a Medical Error? Sure. Apologize Too?
According to the article, studies have shown that physicians' apologies do not necessarily increase the chance of malpractice lawsuits.
In fact, in Dr. Jauhar's case the experience added up to patient loyalty. Despite the misdiagnosis, his patient decided against taking up a referral to another cardiologist and in fact thanked Dr. Jauhar for being 'terrific.'
Seems strange initially. But if you think about it, when someone acknowledges their honest mistake to you and has the heart to apologize sincerely, even when their personal and professional reputation is at stake as a direct cause of that apology, what's really being said is 'I care about you.' It's hard to walk away from a connection like that. Or at least it should be.
Dr. Sandeep Jauhar's interests include novel therapies for acutely decompensated heart failure. He is Board certified in both Cardiology and Internal Medicine. He practices in New Hyde Park, New York.