From the most recent SorryWorks! Newsletter:
The media often talks about the pain visited upon patients and families by medical errors (which is very real), but rarely do they talk about the pain and suffering experienced by medical professionals after medical errors. Sure, there are those healthcare professionals who are cold and callous and truly don't care, but the vast majority of doctors and nurses suffer greatly after a medical error. They beat themselves up and literally grieve.
The situation is made worse when risk management and defense counsel tell the doctor or nurse to shut up and abandon the patient/family. Healthcare professionals being told not to heal patients and families who have been hurt only makes a bad situation worse. There are countless stories of clinical depression, ruined careers, divorces, and even suicides among healthcare professionals after medical errors.
Doctors and nurses need healing too after errors, and they can only receive the healing they need by taking ownership of an error, confessing their mistake to a patient and family, apologizing, and then hearing the magic words from a patient or family: "I forgive you."