HARRISBURG-Health care professionals can again say “I’m sorry”
without fear of legal consequences under legislation signed into law by
Governor Corbett today (October 23), according to Senator Don White, Chairman
of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee.
Senate Bill 379 makes any benevolent gesture made prior
to the commencement of a medical liability action by certain health care
workers inadmissible as evidence of liability or an admission against interest.
A benevolent gesture is defined in the bill as any action that conveys a sense
of apology, condolence, explanation, compassion, or commiseration emanating
from humane impulses. The new law applies to health care providers and assisted
living residence workers who make a benevolent gesture regarding a patient’s
discomfort, pain, suffering, injury or death.
“I am pleased that we have put this law on the books in
Pennsylvania,” said Senator White. “This will let health care professionals
express their feelings without repercussions and it will let families know that
those medical workers are humans with feelings. Senate Bill 379 restores an
element of humanity and compassion to our health care system.”
Thirty-six states, the District of Columbia and Guam have
provisions allowing medical professionals to make apologies or sympathetic