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After a surgical error, the last thing you really want to have to do is go through a legal battle for compensation, but that’s sadly what tends to need to be done. In Ohio, a new apology proposal would make it possible for a doctor to apologize to you for a mistake, but then he or she wouldn’t need to admit the mistake in court. Is that right? A Dec. 2 report argues the sides of the case.

The positive aspects of the apology proposal would be that a doctor could apologize for negligent actions or mistakes, allowing families to get the confirmation they need of that error. Lobbyists for the proposal suggest it may even lower the number of medical malpractice lawsuits, because sometimes, patients are suing to get answers more than anything else.

Unfortunately, this proposal shields the apologies, allowing doctors to withhold their apologies from a court hearing or trial. While patients and their families could still sue, it’s argued that the legislation itself is unethical. What would happen is that while families would have their suspicions confirmed, the doctors would commit perjury by not disclaiming their admitted mistakes in court, even under oath. No other profession is allowed to do that.

As a patient, you shouldn’t have to go through the struggle of making something you and the doctor know is true come out in court. You shouldn’t have to argue to bring about the changes that are needed, especially if they’re already acknowledged by the person who caused the mistake. If you find yourself in this situation, you may want to speak with someone about your rights to legal action.