Which is ridiculous since sympathy does not at all imply causation even if the involved parties are closely linked (obviously saying you are sorry for the loss of a loved one does not mean that you caused their death even if you were the doctor involved in their care). Nor does one’s personal beliefs of guilt and acceptance of responsibility imply actual guilt or causation. That’s something for the court to decide based on the evidence. And our legal system is supposed to have this principle about people not incriminating themselves (but in reality this is extremely limited in scope and applies only to a prohibition against forced testimony while everything else is admissible).
However, this is starting to change. A state bill filed in Massachusetts would “make the expression of regret, sympathy or compassion inadmissible as evidence in a lawsuit.” But, of course, the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys oppose this bill.
Why? Because apologizing for their mistakes and/or sympathizing when there is a bad outcome reduces the likelihood that the doctor will get sued and improves the chances that it will lead to a quick resolution. This is good for everybody except the trial lawyers whose success depends upon lengthy and expensive litigation.
Currently over half the states have some type of apology law that prevents sympathy from being used against a physician in court. This appears to be part of an even bigger nationwide effort to essentially bypass the broken, expensive, and inefficient legal system to resolve cases and get compensation to injured parties in a faster and less expensive way. Again, this is not good for the trial lawyers.
If anything, the fact that a law is needed to provide protection against such abuses allowed in court is illustrative of just how broken the current legal system is and how malleable and susceptible it is to abusive legal practices.