MA MDs lobby for stronger "apology" protections

The Massachusetts Medical Society has begun pushing for the state to pass a law protecting physicians who apologize to patients and admit making an error. MMS is asking state legislators to pass a measure, filed by state Sen. Robert O'Leary (D) which would bar such apologies from being used as evidence against the physician in medical malpractice suits. If such a bill passes, Massachusetts will join four other states (Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut and Washington) which have approved laws protecting doctors who apologize for errors. Meanwhile, many other states have passed so called "I'm sorry" laws, which shield doctors who express sympathy for a patient's problems (though not if they admit fault).

Massachusetts law already bars plaintiffs from using expressions of sympathy against defendants in personal injury suits, but the physicians' group argues that this is not enough. MMS is arguing that without such added protections, physicians are unlikely to practice the kind of openness that consumer advocates would like to see. State trial lawyers, of course, aren't too thrilled with the idea, and oppose giving physicians the exemption.

To learn more about the MMS's initiative:
- read this piece from The Boston Globe

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