Several years ago I wrote an article titled “Impertinent remarks: when critical comments lead to litigation.” The article described how health care professionals can inadvertently incite patients to file lawsuits simply by making comments such as “I would hardly expect that kind of complication from such a simple procedure” or “the radiologist would have caught that lump if he had looked for it.” These innocent remarks may lead patients to believe there was something wrong with their previous treatment. Then the lawyers get involved.
Since writing that article, I have made it a point to study the “impertinent remarks” that I hear others make. My intent is not to sue anyone, but to further understand what leads seemingly smart, rational people to say the most absurd things during conversations.
Of course, I am guilty of this as well. Once I complimented a co-worker on her new hairstyle and five minutes later I remembered she was undergoing treatment for cancer. Her new “hairstyle” was actually a wig.
I seem to make impertinent remarks in response to the awkwardness of the situation. I need to fill the silences in conversation with something. It’s taken me years to learn the value of conversational silences . . . they are the perfect opportunity to let the other guy talk or to politely transition out of the conversation.
Hence, I introduce this blog. I promise not to make it a showcase for impertinent remarks. I will keep my posts short and to the point, and only write when I have something worth writing about. No writing for the sake of writing or because I haven’t posted for a while.
And since this is a blog — if I don’t live up to this promise — you can call me on it.