Going beyond saying you're sorry” (March 28, p. 32) highlighted excellent examples of programs that promote both compassionate care and good business. More than 30 years ago when I was a chaplaincy trainee at a major academic medical center, the chaplain was routinely called to be with patients and families in the very rare event that they were being told of a medical error. I was not there to defend the hospital or make any offers, but simply to help patients and families express and process the sometimes intense feelings that these events evoked and be a caring presence. Besides helping people cope, it sent a message that the hospital was truly interested in their welfare and not just in protecting the hospital's interests. In cases such as this, chaplains are a valuable resource to bridge the often conflicting realms of risk management and patient-centered care.
Rev. George HandzoVice presidentHealthCare ChaplaincyNew York