In today’s medical malpractice world, if a doctor apologizes, many patients will accept the apology and move on. If they decide to file a lawsuit, that apology can’t be used against them as evidence, provided the doctor or other medical professional makes no admission of negligence or error. If the doctor does make an admission, that evidence can be used in court.
If Maryland’s hospital administrators have anything to say, that could change within the state. If it does, more states may follow suit. Administrators are pushing legislation that would make it easier for medical professionals to acknowledge when something goes wrong and not have that statement used as evidence in court.
Administrators argue that it is about more than protecting doctors – it is about protecting and assisting patients. In today’s litigious society, doctors are afraid to acknowledge their errors. This may lead to patients not being treated with appropriate care. Trial lawyers say that this is not what would happen. In fact they say it would leave patients vulnerable.