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Republicans bring back bill to allow doctors to apologize for mistakes without being sued


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Republicans will try again to let doctors apologize for their medical mistakes without having it come back to bite them in court.

Wauwatosa Senator Leah Vukmir and Representative Erik Severson of Star Prairie are asking colleagues to co-sponsor their measure.

Severson’s a doctor and Vukmir is a nurse. And both say they want to give medical professionals the chance to express condolences to patients and families without fear of, “frivolous malpractice lawsuits.”

Republicans in the Assembly passed the same bill two years ago, but it never passed the Senate. Former Democratic Governor Jim Doyle vetoed the same bill in 2006, in which critics at the time called a bias toward trial lawyers.

The state’s Medical Society and Hospital Association both support the measure. They say it could reduce the need for patients’ relatives to file lawsuits in order to find out what happened to their loved ones.

But the Wisconsin Association for Justice says the bill goes too far by not holding doctors accountable if they admit fault in their apologies.

35 states have medical apology laws, but the Justice group says only a few are as strict as the Wisconsin bill.