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When A Doctor Says "i'm Sorry"

When A Doctor Says

One Arizona medical malpractice law that deals with a doctor's admission of negligence is called the "I'm Sorry" law

. This Arizona medical malpractice law is designed to shield doctors from unwarranted lawsuits brought by individuals that would use a physician's admission of regret and feelings of sorrow as affirmative statements of fault or negligence. The Arizona medical malpractice law was created to limit the amount of claims brought against physicians. It is believed that if physicians can simply apologize for their mistakes, it will diffuse an otherwise injured or damaged victim from deciding to file a lawsuit for their injuries.

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider delays or fails to diagnosis needed treatment. It also occurs when a healthcare provider makes a mistake that the medical community would not make. This is called "standard of care". Examples of medical malpractice include misreading or misinterpreting tests, mistakes made in surgery, administration of the wrong medication or wrong dosage, or simply failure to notice a problem. Generally, when these types of errors cause serious injury or wrongful death, it is considered medical malpractice.

Thirty-five (35) states including Arizona have "I'm Sorry" laws that protect health care providers who express sympathy to a patient for an unanticipated outcome, from having such statement used against the physician in an ensuing lawsuit. The purpose of the "I'm Sorry" law is to encourage open communication between patients and physicians without fear of reprisal in the form of a medical malpractice lawsuit. The types of expressions covered by the "I'm Sorry" Arizona medical malpractice law and their level of protection vary among the states. In Arizona, a physician is protected from a statement, gesture, or expression if it is related to the discomfort, pain, suffering, injury or death of the alleged victim.

The Arizona medical malpractice law provides that the communication is inadmissible as an admission of liability or an admission against interest. Thus, if a person is further injured or dies in a medical setting, and you believe that medical malpractice is involved, the conveyance of regret and being sorry for the outcome is generally not admissible in court to prove negligence or fault by the physician. However, if the physician communicates more than just a general feeling of regret and communicates that he is sorry for performing or failure to perform an action that constitutes medical malpractice, the Arizona medical malpractice law does not completely protect the physicianWhen A Doctor Says


Medical malpractice cases are always difficult, and always hard fought by the physicians and their attorneys. Since the Arizona medical malpractice law is fairly complicated and can be tricky in applying to a certain situation, contacting an experienced attorney that specializes in medical practice is advised. An attorney familiar with the Arizona medical malpractice law will be in the best position to determine whether or not the "I'm Sorry" law applies and whether the statements by the physician can be admissible in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

by: Chris Zachar
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When A Doctor Says "i'm Sorry"