New Law Comes to Massachusetts, Mandating Doctors Admit their Mistakes October 9, 2010.

If it happens in Massachusetts, it could happen in Ohio.

Tort reform is something that has many people, including patients, doctors and medical malpractice lawyers up in arms. It is unfair to the patient, and not just unfair, it is unjust. The patient is penalized for a medical professionals error that seriously harmed, or killed them. To this point, the debate over what to do for patients that suffer at the hands of negligent doctors, rages on, with a wide variety of ideas being thrown out for consideration. Some states have come up with a partial and not completely just solution, but many consider that to be a step in the right direction.

Massachusetts for instance has recently introduced a new law that may have the potential to be implemented in other states, in other forms and other incarnations. The law mandates that doctors are required to divulge their mistakes, and promptly apologize to their patient. While that may sound good, the not so good part is that by promptly saying they are sorry, that admission of an error cannot be used against them in a medical negligence lawsuit. Good news, bad news.

Of interest is the new law also has a provision that means defensive medicine must be closely examined. Defensive medicine is the concept that doctors go overboard and order excessive and unnecessary tests, so they can avoid a potential lawsuit. That being said, even if some doctors do indulge in this practice, if they are negligence in the face of too many tests, then they are still negligent, and liable to face a lawsuit.

What are doctors thinking about the possibility of this new law? Some think it is a good thing. Others are not so sure. Will medical malpractice lawsuits decrease because of bills like this one, and others that are similar? Not necessarily. The only thing that will decrease the number of medical malpractice lawsuits is fewer instances of doctors committing medical negligence.