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Gov. Corbett Signs “Apology Rule” Bill

WILKES-BARRE — Smiles on doctors’ faces, as Governor Corbett signs a new bill into law. The “Apology Rule” will allow doctors to apologize or express sympathy to patients and their families, without having to worry that those two little words will be used in malpractice suits.

Mary Susan Brobst of Shavertown said that’s not fair to families.

“It’s just the government is, their fingers are in a little too many places,” said Brobst.

Joe Cosgrove is an arbitrator and former judge who deals with a lot of malpractice suits. He says this bill will help lower the number of malpractice suits that are filed.

“Any time we can reduce the number of malpractice claims, we save money in all kinds of ways, if nothing else, in just eliminating something from the court docket,” said arbitrator Joe Cosgrove.

He said doctors could also argue why shouldn’t they be able to show compassion? But he said there are obvious concerns for patients and their families as well.

“The plaintiff having a right to make a claim, if that’s diminished in any way, then is justice really being served? That’s the plaintiff’s point of view,” said Cosgrove.

“There’s too many frivolous lawsuits out there. It’s good to cut down on them, but then I could also see the fact where it’s going to affect families and that’s the con side of it,” said Brobst.

Cosgrove said he doesn’t believe the bill will have a big impact on malpractice suits in the state. The bill takes effect in 60 days.

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