I'm a little late to the party on this, but I think it's interesting food for thought. A new law in Pennsylvania will allow expressions of sympathy from doctors to patients to be protected from use as evidence in medical liability suits. My colleague Karen Langley wrote about the legislation when it was signed last month:
The safeguard applies to any "benevolent gesture" made before the start of a lawsuit by a health care provider or assisted living facility. It specifically excludes statements of fault or negligence.
I'll be interested to see whether this has any bearing on the number of malpractice suits filed, or their outcomes (those that aren't settled with non-disclosure agreements, that is).
You can read Karen's full article here: http://www.post-gazette.com/news/state/2013/10/23/Bill-assures-no-fault-apologies.html