There are two approaches that health care providers can pursue in handling a medical error. Is it better for a physician not to admit a mistake and aggressively defend the claim or apologize and try to amicably resolve the matter? There has been a growing movement for physicians to offer words of sympathy or to apologize for a medical mistake as a way of minimizing the impact of a medical error and reducing the chances of a malpractice claim. There are a number of benefits to this approach but critics maintain that an apology is a useless gesture with an unproven track record and merely a way of obtaining tort reform in disguise. This Article explores this controversy, the enactment and criticisms of apology laws designed to encourage physicians to talk to patients about medical mistakes, and examines how the courts have responded to whether expressions of sympathy and fault are admissible in court without constituting an admission of liability.
Samuel D Hodge, Jr, Should a Physician Apologize for a Medical Mistake? – The Controversy Over the Effectiveness of Apology Law Statutes, 69 Cleveland State Law Review 1 (2020).