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Ohio Supreme Court Upholds “Apology” Statute

On Tuesday, April 23, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that apologies or other statements of sympathy are not admissible in medical malpractice lawsuits. The decision upholds the “medical apology statute” law. In its ruling, the Court clarified that such statements cannot be used as evidence even if treatment occurred before the law took effect in 2004.

Yesterday’s decision was prompted by a medical malpractice suit in which Dr. Randall Smith, a general surgeon from Portage County, allegedly admitted fault in complications after removing the plaintiff’s gall bladder. The Supreme Court’s ruling reversed an earlier Court of Appeals decision.

This ruling is a major victory for physicians, who have long argued that fear of future legal action could impede their ability to express sympathy and empathy with their patients.

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