What to say when medicine goes wrong

A SWIFT apology goes a long way after a medical mistake - but not just any apology will do, Australian psychologists say.

The best are detailed and focus on the wronged patient, the Edith Cowan University researchers report.

Professor Alfred Allen says doctors should empathise and explain that they understand what it means.

For example, in the case of a surgical mistake:

Wrong way: “I’m really sorry about this. I wish it hadn’t happened.”

Right way: “I feel badly about the discomfort this has meant for you and the potential risks of the situation you