Credentialing & Privileging

News and briefs: Bill would protect physicians who apologize

Credentialing Resource Center Insider, March 9, 2012

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Rhode Island lawmakers are discussing a bill that would allow physicians to apologize for the bad medical treatment of a patient without that apology being used in a medical malpractice case. In an interview with the Associated Press, Kent Hospital CEO Sandra Coletta says most physicians do not apologize to patients and their families for fear the apology could be used as an admission of guilt in a malpractice lawsuit.

The bill has picked up national attention because actor James Wood appeared before Rhode Island’s legislature last week to voice his support of the bill. Wood’s brother died of a heart attack in Kent Hospital and Wood subsequently sued the hospital, claiming the emergency room staff did not do enough to save his brother. When Coletta apologized to Woods for the handling of the situation, Wood said the apology was an effective solution and he agreed to settle the case. “Usually the people who are willing to admit their mistakes are some of the finest,” he says.

Some lawyers oppose the bill because they say it goes too far to protect physicians and insurance companies from taking responsibility for medical errors. The Rhode Island legislation has not set a date to vote on the bill.



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