03 Jan “Evidence Shows Apology Laws Are Largely Ineffective,” Healthcare Risk Management
In the January 2022 issue of Healthcare Risk Management, Partner Jason B. Hendren discusses why healthcare apology laws, which are meant to protect clinicians who apologize to a patient or patient’s family after an adverse healthcare event, appear to have little positive effect. In the article, Hendren explains that many states have not passed apology laws and to offer condolences in such states could put “a clinician at risk of the statement being used as evidence of wrongdoing.” Hendren offers an example from his own practice, where a client’s words of sympathy prompted a lawsuit in which his words were later used against him. “The experience made him wary of his communications with patients and their families,” Hendren said. “Moreover, and most regrettably, he lost much of the enjoyment of practicing medicine.”
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