Thursday, March 12, 2009


I came across an interesting article about how Japanese hospitals are starting to adopt a spreading practice in the United States whereby hospitals have instituted a practice of explaining medical mistakes quickly and clearly, and apologizing. (The result seems to be fewer malpractice suits.) According to the article, there is no practice of a doctor or hospital apologizing for mistakes.

This paragraph stood out:

"In a paper published in the September 2007 issue of the medical journal Iryo Anzen (Medical Safety), Yoshimitsu Yamazaki, a physician who has obtained a law degree and is preparing for the bar exam, cited 32 court rulings that referred to apologies made to patients by medical professionals. He categorized these apologies into two types: one he termed kyokan hyomei (an expression of empathy or regret for not meeting patients' expectations); and the other sekinin shonin, which includes an admission of oversight. Courts have excluded the first type as evidence of negligence — but not the other."

Interesting distinction!

Here are the kanji for the terms:

共感 【きょうかん】 (n,vs,adj-no) sympathy; empathy; response
表明 【ひょうめい】 (n,vs) declaration; indication; representation; manifestation; demonstration; expression; announcement; assertion

責任 【せきにん】 (n) duty; responsibility
承認 【しょうにん】 (n,vs) recognition; acknowledgement; acknowledgment; approval; consent; agreement

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