Law Professor Attacks Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Project

Gabriel Teninbaum, JD, an associate professor of legal writing at Suffolk University Law School, has spoken out against a recent medical malpractice program adopted by seven Massachusetts hospitals, according to a WBUR report.

The program Roadmap to Reform is an alternative approach to medical liability intended to improve patient safety, increase transparency, reduce litigation and cut costs to the healthcare system. It proposes a process of "Disclosure, Apology and Offer," under which healthcare providers and insurers disclose adverse outcomes to patient and families; investigate and explain what happened; take steps to prevent the recurrence of such incidents; and, where appropriate, apologize and offer fair financial compensation.

Although Mr. Teninbaum is supports the practice of formal apologies to patients and families affected by medical errors, he is opposed to the risk of miscommunication that could hurt patients.

"My concern is that a patient, after suffering a terrible injury as a result of an accident, will confuse a communication they have with their doctor as being intended to heal, when in fact it's intended to keep them from pursuing money damages," he said in the report. "My concern is that patients will be manipulated into thinking that the apology and offer reflect the true value of the claim, the true value of the amount of money that they'd need to go on in their life after this injury."

Mr. Teninbaum also believe medical malpractice projects such as Roadmap to Reform could be "very, very positive," so long as patients are provided with the information and empowerment to exercise their full legal rights.

Related Articles on Medical Malpractice:

U of Michigan Health Offers Guidance for Medical Error and Malpractice

Massachusetts Initiative Aims to Improve Patient Relations After Medical Errors

Ohio's Malpractice Tort Reform Linked to 40% Drop in Claims

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