Government & Politics
5:40 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

New State Law Allows Medical Providers To Say 'Sorry'

A new state law will allow medical providers to do something many take for granted: say they’re sorry for a bad outcome.

The law will be effective in about two months.

In the past, an apology from a doctor or midwife has been admissible as evidence of liability.

Republican Sen. Pat Vance of Cumberland County says the law will finally let medical professionals express their sympathies in the event that something goes wrong in the course of care.

"You know, the practice of health care is often an art, not a science, and mistakes are made. Not deliberately, but made," Vance said.

The bill has been contentious in the Legislature, having the support of medical professionals but getting strong opposition from trial attorneys.
               
Vance, a former surgical pediatric nurse, worked on it for eight years, pointing to research showing other states that passed similar measures saw huge drops in medical liability and malpractice lawsuits filed.
               
She says the law does not preclude a lawsuit being filed over a health care incident.