Report: Most States Protect Apologies by ProQuest


A global leader in serving libraries of all types, ProQuest LLC (“ProQuest”) supports the breadth of the information community with innovative discovery solutions that power the business of books and the best in research experience. More than a content provider or aggregator, ProQuest is an information partner, creating indispensable research solutions that connect people and information. Through innovative, user-centered discovery technology, ProQuest offers billions of pages of global content that includes historical newspapers, dissertations, and uniquely relevant resources for researchers of any age and sophistication—including content not likely to be digitized by others.

More Info
									28 Renal & Urology News                 MARCH 2009

                                                               MALPRACTICE NEWS

  BY MYRA DEMBROW                                                                                                                                                  should be made explicit. “When done
                                                                                                                                                                   well, standards and checklists can
  Report: Most States                                                                                                                                              help improve the quality and reduce
  Protect Apologies                                                                                                                                                the costs of care and enhance rather
                                                                                                                                                                   than compromise the profession of
  Doctors in 35 states and the Dis-                                                                                                                                medicine,” he maintains.
  trict of Columbia can commiser-                                                                                                                                    “Gone are the days when a doctor
  ate with patients or their families                                                                                                                              was on his own, carrying all the tools
  and worry less about the legal                                                                                                                                   of modern medicine in a black
  repercussions.                                                                                                                                                   leather bag,” Dr. Pronovost says.
    That’s the view of William M.                                                                                                                                  “Today, much of care is team-based,
  McDonnell, MD, JD, who teaches                                                                                                                                   and the wealth of techniques and
  at the law school and medical                                                                      4
                                                                                                                                                                   wisdom is too much for one doctor

                                                                                                                                      ILLUSTRATION BY R. MANCUSO
  school at the University of Utah in                                                                                                                              to keep in his or her head. Stan-
  Salt Lake City. He and Elisabeth                                                                                                                                 dardization and a move away from
  Guenther, MD, MPH, have compiled                                                                                                                                 physician autonomy will help guar-
                                                              No apology law   Sympathy only    Admissions of fault
  a status report on “apology laws” ac-                                                                                                                            antee that each patient receives the
  ross the country as of March 31, 2008                                                                                                                            best treatment available.”
  (Ann Intern Med. 2008;149:811-815).          Apology laws in the United States are a fairly recent trend in the United States,
                                               varying from state to state with regard to the level of protection afforded.
    Citing an actual Colorado mal-                                                                                                                                 Insurers Cut Premiums
  practice case, the authors give this                                                                                                                             in Several States
  example of a problematic statement:           “Because they are so recent and                98,000 Americans who die each
  “I’m sorry about your father’s situa-       because physicians remain unfamil-               year because of hospital error, the                                 Doctors in at least four states are
  tion. Things might have turned out          iar with them, there is little evidence          critical-care specialist asserts.                                   paying less for malpractice insur-
  better had I been more up to date on        yet as to whether [these statutes]                 “Imagine,” he says. “America has                                  ance than they were a year ago.
  current treatment options.” The first       improve communication or reduce                  some of the best doctors and medi-                                    After keeping rates flat for five
  sentence is an expression of sympa-         errors,” they conclude. Citing the ef-           cine in the world, yet we are getting                               years, LAMMICO (whose name is
  thy; the second could be construed          fective use of Virginia’s apology law            it right only half of the time.”                                    derived from the Louisiana Medical
  as an admission of fault.                   in excluding a physician’s apology a
To top