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I’m sorry

March 29, 2011

That’s the subject of a bill before the Senate Judiciary Committee today up at the State House (around 5pm in room 313)

The bill (S 0348) would allow doctors to utter those two  (or three depending on how you count) simple words- I’m sorry- without worrying that their apology could be used against them in a medical malpractice suit.

Or course, the law doesn’t limit itself to that phrase.  It would cover any sort of expression of sympathy, any acknowledgment of medical errors, and any efforts to offer “corrective action to assist the patient.”

This isn’t a new bill.  Here are stories about the proposal from 2007 and  2009

Supporters say the law allows better communication between doctors and their patients without fear of lawsuits.  Opponents say apologies and admitting an error can be key components in a case.

Around 35 states already have an ‘I’m sorry” law but they differ slightly as to what statements can and can’t be used in court.

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