The Path between Sebastian's Hospitals: Fostering Reconciliation after a Tragedy

Barry Law Review, vol., 17, pp. 89-131 (2012).

43 Pages Posted: 3 May 2012

See all articles by Jonathan R. Cohen

Jonathan R. Cohen

University of Florida Levin College of Law

Date Written: May 3, 2012

Abstract

On October 8, 2007, Horst and Luisa Ferrero brought their healthy but short, three-year-old son Sebastian to a university hospital for a “routine” test to determine whether he lacked human growth hormone. Two days later, following a tragic string of errors, Sebastian was pronounced brain dead. Approximately two weeks later, the hospital offered a detailed public apology to the parents for Sebastian’s death. Several months after the apology, the parents began working collaboratively with the hospital to improve patient safety at the hospital and to advocate for a new children’s hospital in their community. This paper is a case study of these events, both the tragic events that led to Sebastian’s death and the parties’ responses to that tragedy. More specifically, I use this case to suggest three fundamental lessons related to client service. These are (i) the role of community in healing and legal decision making, (ii) the centrality of caring to the vocation of lawyering, and (iii) the importance of non-monetary interests, in particular meaning making, to many clients.

Keywords: medical error, reconciliation, apology, non-pecuniary interests, professionalism, negotiation, conflict resolution, preventing medical error

JEL Classification: I10, K10

Suggested Citation

Cohen, Jonathan R., The Path between Sebastian's Hospitals: Fostering Reconciliation after a Tragedy (May 3, 2012). Barry Law Review, vol., 17, pp. 89-131 (2012).. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2050376

Jonathan R. Cohen (Contact Author)

University of Florida Levin College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 117625
Gainesville, FL 32611-7625
United States
(352) 273-0919 (Phone)
(352) 392-3005 (Fax)

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
63
Abstract Views
921
rank
360,830
PlumX Metrics