A new approach is being floated in some hospitals to bring about early settlements of medical negligence situations. The program relies on the hospital becoming aggressively transparent with the patients and their families when a medical malpractice situation arises. It is called Candor, which stands for Communication and Optimal Resolution. Although the program may have some viable aspects, whether it will catch on or become an effective option to full-fledged litigation in Oregon or other states remains to be seen.

At first blush, the thought of informal negotiations and quick resolutions sounds attractive. However, no malpractice case can be settled fairly without representation on both sides. While the powerful hospitals will continue to have legal counsel during the Candor process, it follows that the malpractice victim must also be represented. There is too much of a potential for heavy-handed dealing by the stronger side, and the medical liability issues are too complex for a totally informal backseat approach by injured victims.

Nonetheless, with those minimum requirements in mind, the settlement of claims may be able to move faster via the process. It works essentially by the hospital and medical providers going to a patient and/or a family within a few hours after a mishap has been discovered. It is a longstanding theory that medical claims by patients would be reduced in number if the medical providers were more transparent and even willing to offer frank apologies. The idea, however, that everything will be resolved by a simple apology by the medical providers tends to denigrate the importance of the injury that has occurred.

Most know the tremendous toll taken by medical malpractice mishaps each year. Tens of thousands are killed in botched medical procedures annually, with Oregon having its share of such nightmares. The answer is not to reverse the progress achieved by recent reports verifying that the medical industry has created a horrendous public safety crisis in the country. There may be a way to make a patient's burden of collecting fair compensation easier, and it is suggested that those pathways be the focus of any new models of patient compensation that come along.

Source: insurancejournal.com, "Making It Possible for Hospitals to Be Honest About Medical Errors", John Tozzi, June 10, 2016