(By Delegates Amores, Long, Craig, Hamilton and Schadler)
March 24, 2005
; referred to the Committee on
Health and Human Resources then the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by
adding thereto a new section, designated §55-7B-9d, relating
to the admissibility of certain statements made by a health
care provider or an employee of a health care provider to a
patient or relatives or representatives of the patient; and
providing that these statements shall be inadmissible as
evidence as an admission of liability or against interest.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended
by adding thereto a new section, designated §55-7B-9c, to read as
ARTICLE 7B. MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY.
§55-7b-9c. Expressions of sympathy inadmissible.
(a) No statement, sympathy, commiseration, condolence,
compassion or a general sense of benevolence which is made by a health-care provider to the patient, a relative of the patient or
a representative of the patient and which relate to the discomfort,
pain, suffering, injury or death of the patient shall be admissible
as evidence of an admission of liability or as evidence of an
admission against interest in any civil action and any resulting
arbitration, mediation or other alternative dispute resolution
proceeding brought under the provision of this article.
(b) For purposes of this section, "relative" means a spouse,
parent, grandparent, stepfather, stepmother, child, grandchild,
brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister or spouse's parents.
The term includes said relationships that are created as a result
of adoption. In addition, "relative" includes any person who has
a family-type relationship with a patient.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to encourage physicians and
other health-care providers to maintain open communications with
patients in circumstances where an unanticipated outcome arises
from a medical treatment or procedure, without fear that any
expressions of apology, sympathy, compassion and the like made in
such circumstances will be used against the physician or
health-care provider in any subsequent legal proceedings.
This is a new sectionStrike-throughs indicate language that
would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates
new language that would be added.