Health care providers would be allowed to express sympathy towards patients for unwanted outcomes of medical procedures without fear of having the gesture used against them later in a medical malpractice suit.

House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny said approval of the “benevolent gesture” legislation was the first in a series of bills aimed at revising Pennsylvania’s tort system.

"The House plans to vote on commonsense legal reforms aimed at bringing fairness, balance and stability to Pennsylvania's civil justice system, and benevolent gesture is the start,” Turzai said in a statement issued after the House vote.

The sponsor of the bill, Keith Gillespie, R-York, said that the legislation, HB 495, allows for an open conversation between families and doctors that rarely takes place under current circumstances, due to the fear of admissible dialogue in the event of a lawsuit.

"The legislation takes into account benevolent gestures on the part of caregivers and breaks a level of tension that our physicians and emergency responders face many times in crucial, stressful circumstances," Gillespie said.