Physician Apologies

The Practical Lawyer, December 2011

17 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2011

See all articles by Nicole Marie Saitta

Nicole Marie Saitta

Independent

Samuel Hodge

Temple University - Fox School of Business and Management - Legal Studies in Business

Date Written: November 30, 2011

Abstract

A Prompt Apology by a physician has been shown to reduce the financial consequences of an adverse medical outcome. However, is an expression of empathy admissible in a malpractice lawsuit? What about a doctor’s statement pertaining to a medical error, such as “It is my fault” or “I made a mistake”? Thirty-five jurisdictions including the District of Columbia have enacted laws to encourage heath care professionals to apologize for adverse medical outcomes without these expressions of regret constituting an admission of liability. Apology laws vary by jurisdiction with some states precluding an admission of a medical mistake while others limiting the disclosure to an expression of sympathy. Many legislative pronouncements restrict the disclosure to the patient and immediate family members while others include the person’s friends and legal representative. One statute even includes a domestic partner. This article will discuss physician apologies as a way to reduce malpractice claims while providing an overview of the evidential laws on the issue.

Keywords: physician apologies

Suggested Citation

Saitta, Nicole Marie and Hodge, Samuel, Physician Apologies (November 30, 2011). The Practical Lawyer, December 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1966533

Nicole Marie Saitta (Contact Author)

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

Samuel Hodge

Temple University - Fox School of Business and Management - Legal Studies in Business ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
91
rank
275,622
Abstract Views
732
PlumX Metrics