“I’m Sorry” Legislation Reintroduced in Wisconsin
In a memorandum to their legislative colleagues, Representative Dr. Erik Severson, Representative John Nygren and Senator Dr. Pam Galloway announced that they are co-sponsoring legislation that would make statements of apology or condolence by a health care provider inadmissible in a court action or administrative hearing. The bill is LRB-0769.
Their memorandum states:
“The goal of this bill is to provide medical professionals with the ability to express condolences or apologies to patients or their families without fear of frivolous malpractice lawsuits. Currently, saying “I’m sorry” could be construed as an admission of guilt in the court system. However studies have shown that the simple act of saying “I’m Sorry” results in families being less likely to file lawsuits. Unfortunately medical professionals have become reluctant to express apology, condolence, or sympathy for fear of suit, despite their personal feelings.
This bill has been introduced with bipartisan support in the last several sessions. A version of this legislation was even passed through the full legislature in 2005, but was vetoed by Governor Jim Doyle. Laws similar to our proposed Doctor Apology Bill have been passed in 35 other states across the nation, showing the importance of allowing medical professionals to express their concerns without fear of damaging and frivolous litigation.”
The deadline for additional co-sponsors is March 9. We will monitor the progress of this bill through the legislative process.