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“Benevolent Gesture” Bill is Signed into Law by Governor Corbett

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On the morning of October 23, 2013, Senate Bill 379, also known as the “Benevolent Gesture” Bill, was signed into law by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, after unanimous approval in both the State Senate and House of Representatives. 

The Benevolent Gesture Law prevents physicians’ empathetic gestures from being used as evidence in medical malpractice lawsuits.  Notably, it does not prevent the use of any statements by physicians indicating negligence or fault. 

In addition to gestures directed toward patients, the Benevolent Gesture Law excludes from evidence any gestures made to a patient’s representative (such as a legal guardian, attorney, or power of attorney), as well as those directed toward the relative of a patient.  According to the Law, a patient’s “relative” includes his or her spouse, parent, stepparent, grandparent, child, stepchild, grandchild, brother, sister, half-brother or half-sister, spouse’s parent, or any other person with a “family-type” relationship with a patient.


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