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New Law Would Make It Easier For Doctors To Discuss Mistakes With Patients

MedMal16

Doctors make mistakes and sometimes those mistakes cost people their lives. While not every mistake amounts to medical malpractice, the fear of medical malpractice lawsuits means that doctors will not be forthcoming about any mistakes they made. In some cases, this could prove fatal if there is a delay in treatment because a second doctor wasn’t able to find the problem in time. A new law could change this. The hope is that doctors will be able to discuss these issues with patients as they arise as opposed to, you know, covering their butts.

During the 2020 legislative session, a proposed law called The CANDOR Act would require hospitals to initiate discussions concerning mistakes or problems related to the treatment of loved ones. Sharon Cooper, the Republican representative in Georgia who drafted the legislation, says that the issue is personal to her because of the way she and her husband were treated by their hospital before he passed. However, the proposed legislation is problematic because it actually protects hospitals from litigation.

Proposed law would make it harder to sue doctors 

The text of the law would require that doctors who have made mistakes request from the patient the right to discuss the problems. If the patient consents, then any information provided to the patient could not be used in a medical malpractice lawsuit. This is an issue. Why? Because any information that the hospital presents to the patient would be stricken from a medical malpractice lawsuit. Even in cases where that information could be gleaned some other way, it is not entirely clear that the plaintiff is waiving their right to use that information in the lawsuit entirely.

Now, from the patient’s perspective, the idea of getting consent to waive a lawsuit or else have the hospital withhold key information that could result in a worsening of care is not really a choice at all. You want to know what’s happening and you’re not going to be willing to wait for that information. So the hospital has the leverage of life and death over the patient’s head while the patient only has the leverage of a posthumous medical malpractice lawsuit if they should decline.

Obviously, hospitals cannot be placed in the position of withholding information from patients on the condition that they waive their right to a medical malpractice lawsuit. That information must be given to patients regardless of how damaging it is to the hospital. While that may hurt them in a medical malpractice lawsuit, they have to turn it over anyway. In fact, they are committing more medical malpractice by failing to keep the patients informed of the problem.

Ultimately, a law like this has the aim of reducing or eliminating medical malpractice lawsuits against doctors under the guise that it is helping patients. But it isn’t helping patients. Patients will suffer the consequences of medical malpractice regardless of whether or not they can sue. The law gives the hospital and doctors the ability to reduce or eliminate their liability by admitting the truth. So we can assume that the hospitals will be in favor of the act if it shields them from medical malpractice lawsuits.

Talk to an Atlanta Medical Malpractice Attorney Today 

If you’ve been injured by the negligent care of your doctor, call the Atlanta medical malpractice attorneys at The Moses Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation and begin the process of litigating your claim.

Resource:

gpb.org/news/2021/07/30/proposed-law-promotes-communication-between-health-care-providers-and-patients

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