More doctors, medical facilities learning value of sincere apology, P.2

In our last post, we began looking at the unfortunate lack of transparency in medical care, and the effort in some quarters of the profession to improve the situation by adopting policies requiring physicians to more readily empathize with patients when errors do occur.

This is a laudable development, to be sure, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it will make it easier for patients to sort out issues of fault. One reason for this is that, while there is an increasing recognition in the medical industry that increased communication and empathy with patients is beneficial for the doctor-patient relationship and can perhaps even reduce costs associated with medical malpractice litigation, there is still hesitation to adopt policies adopting open apologies to patients. 

The reason for this is fairly simple: providers fear that admitting wrongdoing will open them up to liability. Providers know that they must avoid admitting fault, but state law is clear that expressions of sympathy are protected.

Under Michigan law, a “statement, writing or action” in which a provider expresses “sympathy, compassion, commiseration, or a general sense of benevolence” toward a patient is not admissible as evidence as an admission of liability in medical malpractice cases. This protection does not, however, apply to statements, writings, or actions expressing “fault, negligence, or culpable conduct.” Sorting out which statements qualify as protected expressions of sympathy and those which qualify as admissions of fault is not always straightforward.

Patients who are harmed by a serious medical error, of course, should always work with an experienced medical malpractice attorney, first to determine whether medical malpractice litigation is a viable option in their case, as well as to build the best possible case for liability.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Free Consultations | No Fee Unless We Win

Email us or call us at 866-585-1076 to discuss your medical malpractice case. There is no cost, no obligation and never a fee unless we are successful. You have nothing to lose by learning your rights and options today.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Request a Free Consult

Penobscot Building, 645 Griswold Street, Suite 4200
Detroit, MI 48226

Toll Free: 866-585-1076
Phone: 313-447-0634
Fax: 313-961-5985
Detroit Office Map

Ohio Office
315 East Main Street
Suite A
Ottawa, OH 45875

Phone: 269-220-3379
Ohio Office Map