OH SupCo: Doc apology not evidence of malpractice

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that sympathetic statements by a doctor over a patient’s unexpected medical outcome can’t be admitted as evidence in medical malpractice cases filed after Sept. 13, 2004.

That’s the effective date of a statute outlawing use of such statements in court.

In a unanimous decision Tuesday, justices reversed an 11th District Court of Appeals ruling that had allowed such a “medical apology” to be admitted in a 2007 suit that involved gall bladder surgery conducted in 2001, before the law went into effect.

Justices said the law clearly applied the prohibition to suits filed after the effective date.

The case involved complications in the surgery of Portage County resident Jeanette Johnson. She sought to admit a statement by her doctor, Randall Smith, taking “full responsibility.”

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