Analysis of Legislation Supporting Evidentiary Exclusion of the Apologies of Healthcare Providers

There has been alot of media coverage recently concerning what I will call "I’m sorry" legislation that allows doctors to apologize to patients for medical procedures gone awry without fear that their apologetic statements may be used against them in a medical malpractice action.  In an interesting post, Michael Townes Watson at the Tort Deform Blog notes that while it is appropriate to allow doctors to apologize, legislation should not give them the freedom, without impunity, to try to say things to deter patients from choosing to seek compensation. In that regard, Watson claims that much of the proposed legislation supporting evidentiary exclusion of the apologies of healthcare providers goes way beyond just excluding the apology and instead attempts to exclude from the jury all other explanations of the outcome or its cause. He advises that advocates of change should not support legislation that would also protect all statements or writings a doctor makes to a patient or a patient’s family regarding the outcome of such patient’s medical care and treatment; he calls such bills over-broad and unfair.