liveonearth (liveonearth) wrote,

Safe to Say you're Sorry (Apology Law)

Apparently 39/50 states have laws protecting the licensed apologizer. To find out if you are safe to say you're sorry, google your state name and "apology law". Here in Oregon, licensed medical practitioners may express regret and make direct apologies when it feels right. I am glad. I want to be able to communicate openly with my patients, and not to feel that I am constrained by risk of liability. If I make a mistake I'd rather talk it through than clam up in fear.

There is a neverending discussion in the medical world about malpractice suits. Doctors who take the time to talk to their patients, and actually care and connect, are not the ones who get sued. Hurried docs who treat the patients as unimportant are the ones who earn malpractice suits from regular people. Of course there are exceptions. There are a few patients who simply wander through life looking for someone to sue; you can't do anything about them except pass them on, and not to a good friend...


Expression of regret or apology
(1) For the purposes of any civil action against a person licensed by the Oregon Medical Board or a health care institution, health care facility or other entity that employs the person or grants the person privileges, any expression of regret or apology made by or on behalf of the person, the institution, the facility or other entity, including an expression of regret or apology that is made in writing, orally or by conduct, does not constitute an admission of liability.
(2) A person who is licensed by the Oregon Medical Board, or any other person who makes an expression of regret or apology on behalf of a person who is licensed by the Oregon Medical Board, may not be examined by deposition or otherwise in any civil or administrative proceeding, including any arbitration or mediation proceeding, with respect to an expression of regret or apology made by or on behalf of the person, including expressions of regret or apology that are made in writing, orally or by conduct. [2003 c.384 §1; 2011 c.30 §5]

Tags: communication, emotion, insurance, law, liability, licensing, medicine, oregon

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