8 States Consider "I'm Sorry" Laws for Doctors

Eight states are considering whether to enact so-called “I’m Sorry” laws encouraged by the medical profession. Another 27 states already have such laws in place. They vary by state, but generally allow doctors who have made mistakes to acknowledge the error to the patient, the AP reports.

As the AP article explains, “The wave of ”I’m sorry” laws is part of a movement in the medical industry to encourage doctors to promptly and fully inform patients of errors and, when warranted, to apologize. Some hospitals say apologies help defuse patient anger and stave off lawsuits.”

However, Providence plaintiff lawyer Steven Minicucci says apologies are of little value, and meanwhile such laws can prevent clients from using key evidence in a medical malpractice case. He opposes the proposed “I’m Sorry” law in Rhode Island.

”I like to call it the ’I’m-sorry-I-killed-your-mother”’ bill, says Minicucci. ”If a doctor comes out and says something like that, he shouldn’t be able to immunize himself against statements like that by couching it in an apology.”

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