Bill related to medical malpractice cases passes

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Legislature has passed a bill that would make expressions of apology or compassion inadmissible as evidence in medical malpractice cases.

HB250, from Rep. Kurt Olson, has been labeled the "I'm sorry" bill.

In his sponsor statement, Olson said the bill was intended to clear up a "gray area" that exists between apologies and admissions of negligence. He said a goal was to improve doctor-patient relationships.

HB250 passed the Senate unanimously Wednesday, after clearing the House last week.

Sens. Donny Olson and Cathy Giessel declared conflicts but were required to vote. Donny Olson is a doctor and Giessel a nurse.

Under the bill, if an expression of apology or sympathy were made with an admission of liability or negligence, the admission of liability or negligence could still be admissible.

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