‘I’m Sorry’ Legislation

A number of states, Idaho being one of the latest, have enacted legislation that allows doctors to apologize to patients without it being used as evidence against them.  Here is a short story about Idaho’s law.  Here is another.  And here is a very nice summary of the states that have such legislation with further links.  The idea is that it cuts down on the number of lawsuits. 

Now, even though I earn my living from lawsuits, I think there is a strong argument to be made for subtracting legal fees from Gross Domestic Product as losses, rather than considering them an economic plus.  I’m not sure if I’m convinced that ‘I’m Sorry’ legislation makes much of a difference in the total number of lawsuits, but in human terms, it has appeal.  But why just doctors?  If you have ever gotten a journalist or lawyer to admit a mistake, you are a real trailblazer, and you ought to write a how-to book about it.  How far could we take such legislation before it would become self-defeating?

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One Response to ‘I’m Sorry’ Legislation

  1. Marjory

    This is something the state of Pennyslyvania needs to adopt. Check out this post from a survey of new doctors in PA in 2005 “The high cost of medical malpractice insurance is a leading reason cited by new doctors for leaving Pennsylvania when their training is finished, according to a new survey. More than three-quarters of the medical residents surveyed said they planned to leave Pennsylvania, and almost half of those doctors said the cost of liability insurance was the reason for their departure.” http://medliabilitypa.org/news/index.php?NewsID=15
    I don’t see any reference that PA has I’m sorry legislation but I think they could use it.