Malpractice: Rhode Island "Apology" Legislation for Doctors
From media advice gurus to our parents, we’ve always known that the most immediate and correct thing to do when we’ve caused harm to someone else is to utter two simple words: “I’m sorry.” But if you are a doctor who has made an error in your care, that apology can lead to an admission of guilt should a patient file a medical malpractice lawsuit. But because of legislation in Rhode Island and laws in other states, a doctor may now be able apologize to a patient and family for a medical mistake without risking litigation.
In the states with “apology laws,” a physician is able to apologize for an adverse outcome without the possible repercussions of their statements being used as evidence in a lawsuit.
However, while a doctor may be able to provide a verbal apology about an outcome to a patient or family, if a physician admits guilt in the error leading to an injury or death, they are not protected by a state’s apology law.
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