Archives: May 2013

Doctors’ apologies can’t be used against them in malpractice suits, justices rule

An apology or other sympathetic statements health-care officials make to their patients can’t be used as evidence of liability in medical-malpractice cases. Lawmakers enacted this years ago. The Supreme Court of Ohio clarified yesterday that this information can’t be used in cases filed after the “medical apology statute” legislation took effect on Sept. 13, 2004, even if the treatment occurred before then. “Doctors admitting that he did something wrong — that could be huge. That could be a large piece of evidence,” said Dan Abraham, attorney and part-owner of Colley Shroyer & Abraham, a Columbus association of trial attorneys that specializes in medical-malpractice cases. But these emotionally charged conversations don’t belong in court testimony, argued Dr. William Wulf, medical director of Central Ohio Primary Care. “Physicians are and should be sympathetic and empathetic. Fear of future legal action shouldn’t impede that,” Wulf said. Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision was prompted by a medical-malpractice case that accused Dr. Randall Smith, a general surgeon from Portage County, of admitting his guilt to causing complications after removing Jeanette Johnson’s gall bladder. The Johnsons first filed their original suit in 2002, months after Smith allegedly said, “I take full responsibility for this. Everything will be…

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April 2013 Newsletter

Protect Patients Now Volume 8, Issue 4 April 2013 Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: New Bill Protects Patient Care In Times of Trauma, Defensive Medicine Costs Add Up A Cost and Care Crisis in New York New Bill Protects Patient Care Earlier this month, legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives that will curb medical lawsuit abuse and help ensure continued patient access to care. Protect Patients Now supporters are urged to Contact Congress in support of this important piece of legislation. The Standard of Care Protection Act (H.R. 1473), a bipartisan bill introduced by Congressman Phil Gingrey (R-GA) and Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX), is the first piece of legislation in the House of Representatives in the 113th Congress to address our nation’s broken liability system. “This bill reinforces my belief that medical decisions must be made between patients and their doctors. The practice of medicine is not one-size-fits-all. It must be protected from policies or rules that may threaten a physician’s ability to treat patients according to their specific needs,” said Congressman Gingrey. The Standard of Care Protection Act ensures that no provisions of federal health care law may be inappropriately used to create new threats for medical liability…

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