Some health care providers are starting to get it. When you mess up, fix it. Don’t hide. Don’t cover it up. Don’t blame the patient. Just do the responsible thing and fix it.
Today’s Wall Street Journal writes about the relatively recent phenomena of hospitals that not only step in and make a fair payment to a person who has been harmed by negligence but go a step further and (a) figure out how and why the error happened and (b) put measures in place to prevent future errors.
This is absolutely wonderful, and shows that the tort system works. The purpose of the system is not just to compensate victims of negligence but also to deter future harm. Other things being equal, wrongdoers who fail to take steps to deter future harm will be hurt in the marketplace. Thus, the reasonably prudent person who is in the position to cause harm takes steps to prevent harm from occurring. That means they take advantage of the every error to analyze what they can do to prevent future harm. And they try to work out something with the victim of that error before litigation, saving everyone transaction costs and potential harm to reputation.