Foreword to the Symposium: Therapeutic Approaches to Conflict Resolution in Health Care Settings

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Georgia State University Law Review

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As American psychologist Abraham H. Maslow once said, "[i]f the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail." This adage reflects one of the overarching themes of a symposium that was held by the Georgia State University Law Review in February 2005: that the health care and legal professions have historically not utilized a robust toolkit of approaches to resolving conflict in health care settings. Traditional litigation approaches, when coupled with the traditional hierarchical culture in health care settings that values professional control and infallibility, have resulted in entrenched and unproductive ways of handling disputes, whether they be between patients and providers or among health care professionals themselves. * The purpose of this symposium was to explore how conflicts in health care settings might be resolved without any resort to litigation, or if a party files suit, how to resolve the dispute with the least amount of financial, reputational, or emotional harm to the parties involved through mediation or other means of alternative dispute resolution. New empirical research is offering strong evidence that alternative approaches produce faster, cheaper, and more satisfying resolutions of health care conflicts. Innovative and positive changes are underway within health care institutions, at legislative levels, and in professional education to improve professionals' ability to reduce disputes in the first instance and to resolve them more efficiently and empathetically when they do occur. In keeping with the goals of therapeutic jurisprudence, such developments will contribute significantly to improving the ability of the legal and health care professions to, above all, do no harm.


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Recommended Citation

Charity Scott, Foreword to the Symposium: Therapeutic Approaches to Conflict Resolution in Health Care Settings, 21 Ga. St. U. L. Rev. 797 (2005).





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