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General Laws

Section 79L. (a) As used in this section, the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:

“Facility”, a hospital, clinic, or nursing home licensed under chapter 111, a psychiatric facility licensed under chapter 19 or a home health agency; provided, however, that “facility” shall also include any corporation, professional corporation, partnership, limited liability company, limited liability partnership, authority or other entity comprised of such facilities.

“Health care provider”, any of the following health care professionals licensed under chapter 112: a physician, podiatrist, physical therapist, occupational therapist, dentist, dental hygienist, optometrist, nurse, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, chiropractor, psychologist, independent clinical social worker, speech-language pathologist, audiologist, marriage and family therapist or mental health counselor; provided, however, that “health care provider” shall also include any corporation, professional corporation, partnership, limited liability company, limited liability partnership, authority, or other entity comprised of such health care providers.

“Unanticipated outcome”, the outcome of a medical treatment or procedure, whether or not resulting from an intentional act, that differs from an intended result of such medical treatment or procedure.

(b) In any claim, complaint or civil action brought by or on behalf of a patient allegedly experiencing an unanticipated outcome of medical care, all statements, affirmations, gestures, activities or conduct expressing benevolence, regret, apology, sympathy, commiseration, condolence, compassion, mistake, error or a general sense of concern which are made by a health care provider, facility or an employee or agent of a health care provider or facility, to the patient, a relative of the patient or a representative of the patient and which relate to the unanticipated outcome shall be inadmissible as evidence in any judicial or administrative proceeding, unless the maker of the statement, or a defense expert witness, when questioned under oath during the litigation about facts and opinions regarding any mistakes or errors that occurred, makes a contradictory or inconsistent statement as to material facts or opinions, in which case the statements and opinions made about the mistake or error shall be admissible for all purposes. In situations where a patient suffers an unanticipated outcome with significant medical complication resulting from the provider’s mistake, the health care provider, facility or an employee or agent of a health care provider or facility shall fully inform the patient and, when appropriate, the patient’s family, about said unanticipated outcome.

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