Mich. passes 'I'm sorry' law for doctors

April 20, 2011 at 3:17 PM

DETROIT, April 20 (UPI) -- A new Michigan law says healthcare providers no longer have to fear apologies to patients for medical mistakes will be used against them in malpractice cases.

The law, sponsored by Republican state Sen. Jim Marleau and signed Tuesday by Gov. Rick Snyder, had been sought by physicians who said it would allow them to be more candid with patients, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Thirty-five other states have so-called "I'm sorry" laws that disallow apologies or statements of compassion by healthcare providers as indicating liability in malpractice cases.

"This bill is very important because communication is very important," said Dr. Karen Mitchell, director of the family residence program at Providence Hospital in Southfield. "This bill preserves my relationship with my patients."

Under the new law, the legal protection would not apply to admissions of medical fault or negligence.

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