Nobody fall over or anything but I have something nice to say about Daylin Leach. Regular readers will remember that I have been pretty hard on him and, I think, rightly so. However, during my recent romp through some of the spring issues of the House Journal I found this (May 11, 2005, p. 1017-1018) regarding SB69, an act providing for employer immunity from liability for disclosure of information regarding former or current employees.
Mr. Leach: Mr. Speaker, I have an amendment on this bill which was originally part of a bill I drafted called the Physicians Apology Act, which says that if there is a bad outcome in a medical case, if the physician has a discussion with the family or the person who was the subject of the bad outcome and there is a discussion of the events or even an apology for a mistake made, that conversation could not be used agains the physician at trial.
Frequently medical malpractice suits are filed out of frustration because people cannot get answers. In States that have done this, that have created a physician apology immunity, lawsuits, the filings of medical malpractice suits, have dropped 20 to 30 percent.
So I think this would be a good thing to do for Pennsylvania. However, for today I am withdrawing this amendment, Mr. Speaker, so that we can run this bill clean, and I look forward to the opportunity to have a vote on this amendment in the near future.
I have no idea if this legislation has been introduced in another form. It is a good idea and should be considered in some form. However, I did put together some links if anyone else is interested in reading about physician apology laws. Like Leach, my understanding is that people often do file malpractice suits just because there is no other way to find out what happened.
Here are a medical (Cohen, Jonathan R. "Toward Candor After Error: The First Medical Apology Law," Harvard Health Policy Review 5 #1 spr 2004: 21-24) and a legal article (O'Hara, Erin Ann. Apology and Thick Trust: What Spouse abusers and neligent doctors might have in common. Chicago-Kent Law Review 79-3 1055-1089 2004) . Info from Maryland, considering similar legislation. A note from a doctor's blog. Here is a newspaper article (Medical apology law may surface By Jennifer Ryan, East Valley Tribune January 8, 2005). Here (Five States Pass Medical Liability Reform Legislation By Leslie Champlin 6/9/2005 American Academy of Family Physicans News and Publications) is more info.
Best of all, here is a really long list of articles and other sources on the topic.
All this being said, I still cannot find it in my heart to think really well of Leach, so don't expect a lot of "Daylin is wonderful" posts.