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Apologies from Health Care Providers Not Admissible as Evidence in Malpractice Claims

When someone has injured you or a member of your family, the first thing that helps to heal the anger, trauma, and frustration of the resulting consequences of the injury is an apology. An apology symbolizes to many in our culture an acknowledgment that wrongdoing has occurred, and an understanding that there are consequences to one’s actions that sometimes results in the injury or harm to another. In the event someone is injured as a result of a person’s accident, negligence, misstep, malpractice, or recklessness, it is important to begin the emotional healing to receive an apology. We hold apologies sacred in our society to the point that our laws generally bar the statement of an apology or other expression of regret by a healthcare provider or medical professional as an admission of liability which can be used against the apologizing party in a future malpractice claim.

Maryland Law and Apologies

The ramifications surrounding apologies and claims for malpractice are a gray area. The law bars the use of an apology or an expression of regret from a medical health provider as an admission of liability or an admission against interest as evidence in a future malpractice litigation. However, any additional statement, especially where it asserts an admission of liability or fault in addition to an apology or expression of regret may be admissible as evidence of liability in a malpractice claim.

Bill to Further Limit Liability of Hospitals During Patient Safety Early Intervention Programs

A recent House bill submitted to the Maryland General Assembly expands protections to health care providers and their statements of apology or expressions of regret when an investigation is under way as part of a patient safety early intervention program. Patient safety early intervention program is a program established by a hospital or other associated institution that aids in the investigation of an individual’s course of medical treatment which led to the individual’s death or serious disability and not due to the natural consequences of the individual’s disease, illness, or condition. The hospital or institution is not only required to report an incident like this but also must conduct an analysis and investigation to determine the root cause of the individual’s death or serious disability.

Requirements of the Bill

The bill outlines that when a patient and his or her family is involved in a patient safety early intervention program to investigate the root cause of the patient’s serious disability, death, or another adverse event, and to determine whether the care that was provided to patient contributed to the harm because it deviated from the reasonable standard of care, any statements made by the hospital during this period of the investigation cannot be admissible as evidence for future malpractice claims. However, this bill would not preclude the family or the patient to receiving future service or support, including financial support, and does not affect the right of the family or the patient to sue for fair and reasonable compensation for damages and harm associated with the deviated standard of care and the adverse event, where an agreement cannot be fostered between the patient and the hospital staff.

Charles County, MD Personal Injury Lawyers that Fight for You

If you or a loved one was injured as a result of a deviated standard of care by a medical professional, it is important to consult with an experienced Waldorf personal injury attorney about your potential malpractice claim. Please call the Law Office of Robert R. Castro at (301) 804-2312 for a confidential consultation.