Wednesday, August 17, 2005

S.C. Senate subcommittee discusses doctor apology bill

According to Myrtle Beach On Line:

Just months after passing sweeping changes in the state's medical-malpractice law, a Senate subcommittee is holding a series of public meetings to talk about altering the laws again.

The first of four gatherings Tuesday discussed a trend encouraging doctors to apologize and offer settlements before cases go to court.

About 17 states have already passed so-called "I'm sorry" laws, said Doug Wojcieszak, spokesman for Sorry Works - a group of doctors, lawyers and patients pushing for the reforms they say not only reduce the number of medical malpractice cases that go to trial but also encourage doctors and other health care workers to learn from their mistakes.

The system requires hospitals to investigate every unexpected death and expects doctors, nurses and anyone else involved to cooperate.

Normally in malpractice suits, defense lawyers advise everyone not to talk about any part of the case.

If the hospital finds negligence or a mistake caused the death, the person responsible meets with the family and apologizes.

The family then is offered a settlement with attorneys warning them any effort to take the case to court will be fought "to the end," Wojcieszak said.

Several of the senators at the meeting Tuesday said the idea was interesting and expect for it to be discussed next year.

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