New England Cable News recently reported that the R.I. legislature would once again hear proposals for legislation granting doctors the ability to apologize for the negligence and not have those statements used as evidence against them in potential medical malpractice lawsuits. This is the second time the Rhode Island General Assembly will hear testimony about the proposal as this was introduced last year but failed. Despite that, several state representatives are again making an effort to see the bill become law.
Introduced by Representative McNamara in mid-February, the bill, which is known as the “Benevolent Gestures Bill,” would allow doctors the freedom to apologize and express sympathy to patients or their families regarding the medical care without having to worry that those apologies or statements would be an admission of medical malpractice or in any way used against them in a medical malpractice lawsuit. The representatives who introduced the bill and its supporters, including actor James Woods, who has testified in favor of such legislation, argue that the bill is intended to allow doctors to express compassion and act as responsible and regular human beings would act in such unfortunate circumstances without the risk that every single word they say used against them in court.
Some believe that by giving doctors the option to simply apologize after committing medical malpractice, and not have the obvious admission of negligence used against them, undermines the very purpose of a medical malpractice claim.
Attorney Paul d’Oliveira commented on the proposed legislation stating, “A Harvard Medical Study years ago indicated that 100,000 people every year die because of medical mistakes. Any legislation that would help to reduce that number would be good legislation. I’m not sure the proposed legislation addresses this issue and I think the proponents of the bill may be hoping that if an injured person gets a genuine apology from their doctor, some will be less likely to pursue a claim against that doctor. If this is the result of this bill, then I am not sure the bill would benefit society as a whole. I feel better legislation would be to address issues that will decrease medical malpractice.”
If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice or a doctor’s negligence, then you may be entitled to compensation. Working with some of the more experienced medical malpractice lawyers handling these cases, the personal injury attorneys at d’Oliveira & Associates want to ensure that you are afforded the best legal representation you deserve. There are no legal fees until you obtain a settlement or award.
Please contact the law offices of d’Oliveira & Associates at 1-800-992-6878 or fill out a contact form for a free legal consultation.