Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Saying you are sorry reduces medical malpractice lawsuits

Saying you are sorry reduces medical malpractice lawsuits. However, many medical professionals are hesitant to do this for fear their statement would be enough to cause them to lose a lawsuit. Many states are passing laws offering "apology protection" for medical professionals. A bill has recently been introduced in Pennsylvania. Americans should be ashamed we have become so litigious that we have to pass a law to allow people to say they are are "sorry" without getting sued. Of course, trial lawyers oppose this legislation. No wonder trial lawyers are held in such low esteem.
Legislation introduced could allow medical professionals to apologize
Published: Monday, March 16, 2009 4:12 AM EDT

HARRISBURG – Statewide health care groups are touting new legislation that would allow medical professionals to apologize to patients without triggering a lawsuit based on their statements alone.

The measure by state Sen. Pat Vance, R-31, Carlisle, wouldn’t relieve a doctor or hospital and nursing home employees making an apology from liability for a medical error or procedure that doesn’t turn out as anticipated. Proponents believe creating a legal climate where such statements can be made more easily could result in fewer medical malpractice lawsuits and leave patients and their families more satisfied with the health care provided them.

The Senate bill surfaces after years of efforts in Harrisburg to prevent doctors from leaving Pennsylvania because of high malpractice insurance premiums. On a separate track, Republican lawmakers have sponsored various bills aimed at bringing down legal costs by putting limits on the ability to sue and capping damage awards.

For the legislation to apply, a gesture would have to be made to a patient prior to the start of any legal action.

Litigation costs have gone down dramatically in states like Michigan that have similar laws, said Vance. (excerpt) read more at standardspeaker.com

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