After making a mistake why should medical professionals want to apologize? How about because it’s the right thing to do and you’ll sleep better at night having set the record straight with the person who was injured by your professional mistake. Publicly setting the record straight is important to a good professional reputation. At least it used to be.

But apologizing goes beyond merely the two people involved. There used to be the idea of setting a good example for those who come after us. And then there is the apology shield and what it teaches young doctors and medical students. How do the young people in society interpret what we’ve just done with this legal fabrication? They see it as one more official lie that those in power and those who support it have created. It’s just another double standard that speaks and reeks of hypocrisy. All this says is that those with sufficient earning power can get away with anything, even lying to a jury. And don’t disagree with me on this point because that’s exactly what this is, it’s a license to lie. When a doctor makes a mistake, then apologizes and latter gets to tell the jury he/she did nothing wrong, it’s nothing more than a big fat lie. And at trial it’s officially called lying under oath; but the law allows it. If this were Monopoly it’s the get out of jail free card. If I were a judge, I’d say, not in my court room. You’re not going to lie in my courtroom, neither unofficially or officially. The law is an ass.


From now on what happens to the real apologies, the ones that were sincere? They go right up in smoke. No longer can any patient believe any doctor’s apology. We can’t tell who is apologizing because their conscience is bothering them and who’s doing so because the hospital legal staff said, “Go apologize.” The joke is on the medical community. By not speaking out against the apology shield legislation the entire medical community looks and sounds seedy and greedy.

Somewhere along the way the medical community lost some of their sincerity and if they don’t start rethinking about who is in charge they risk losing all self-respect.

You see free apologies really aren’t all that free. A free-market apology costs something or at least places the apologizer at risk. But with this apology right out of a socialist bible there is not a cost to the person who publicly speaks the words of apology. Sort of like an apology from a communist leader who can’t lose your vote even if he/she refuses to say I’m sorry. The apology shield is another sign of America becoming more and more like a Communist country, a Godless regime without a soul. Welcome to the new America, one in which I make every apology.

Steve Lombardi
Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death
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