The Assembly Health Committee Wednesday held a hearing on legislation that would allow physicians to say things such as “I’m sorry,” without those words be admissable in a malpractice lawsuit.
The Wisconsin Medical Society supports the legislation. Dr. Norm Jensen, of the Society, testified the current legal model hampers the doctor/patient relationship. He said physicians who feel at risk will tend to be “very guarded” with their words. “They (patients) wonder ‘what are they not telling me,’ and that really undermines trust.”
J. Michael End of the Wisconsin Association for Justice raised concerns with the bill’s language. He said there needs to be some allowance for doctors’ statements to be admissible in the case of serious malpractice.
“Hardly anybody files a lawsuit and I’m just asking you don’t take away the right – that one of those people who deserves compensation have – to win.”
This bill has been proposed the last several sessions. A version even passed the legislature in 2005, but vetoed by then-Governor Jim Doyle. The bill is now spearheaded by two lawmakers who are also physicians, Senator Pam Galloway (R-Wausau) and State Representative Erik Severson (R-Star Prairie).
The Senate Committee on Judiciary, Utilities, Commerce, and Government Operations will hear a version of the bill today.