April 21, 2006

Medical Liability Blog Roundup

RoundupDr. Charles extols his fellow dos and regular Joes alike to support the Senate plan to pass a cap on non-economic damages in med-mal cases. He asks: “Who's going to be left to perform brain surgery or deliver babies? Uncle Steve?” We told you the Senate is where the May action is. Read

These posts have been on the shelf awhile, but there are still some interesting personal responses to Reader’s Digest’s question: Do you trust your local hospital? Read

Whom do you trust?

Overlawyered.com notes a woman who is suing a hospital for having a healthy baby girl. Turns she had an abortion, but neither her nor the doc knew she had been carrying twins. She wants the doc to pay for raising the kid. More medical stories here.

Enjoy the weekend.

April 19, 2006

Disciplining Docs, Lawyers Get By and An Uninsured Farmworker

News_2_1_1_1_1Washington’s Governor thinks the state’s system for disciplining bad docs needs serious help. “There is a consensus, I think, among all of us that it’s broken, and it needs — not tinkering — it needs reform,” Gov. Chris Gregoire said after signing the new medical malpractice bill into law. Read about some smart proposed changes. [The Olympian]

The number of malpractice cases has been dropping steadily the last few years in Ohio’s Montgomery County. Tort reform and the expense of medical malpractice litigation—think experts—seem to have played a role in this. But local lawyers aren't hurting-- they’re specializing in the field—taking serious cases—or moving on to more profitable pastures. Read [Dayton Business Journal]

Question: if caps are enacted and taking on a case is no longer financially sensible, does this end up hurting a patient’s options for justice?

After a February car accident shattered his right eye, Jorge Alvarez was taken by helicopter to the trauma unit at St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach. He was unconscious for several days and needed to have the dangling eye removed. But the 19-year-old uninsured farm worker from Fort Pierce was not treated for a week because an eye specialist could not be found to remove the eye. Dr. Steve Spector, a West Palm Beach ophthalmologist who operated on Alvarez after taking his turn on the trauma unit, contends other, more experienced doctors turned down the case because the patient was uninsured. Read [Palm Beach Post]

April 17, 2006

Senate to Debate Med-Mal Caps

Caps_2Next month, the U.S. Senate will take another swing at medical malpractice reform. The medical liability bill (S 1955) would cap total non-economic damages in malpractice lawsuits at $750,000 and would cap such damages at $250,000 per defendant. These bills have been debated before and the fact we’re still writing about it tells you about the past results.

But it’s a new year and Sen. Frist, M.D., is charged up and so are people on both sides of the issue. Learn about docs pushin’ here and opponents shoutin’ here.

Can you, the reader, offer some reasons for and against capping non-economic damages? We still don’t know if this is a real solution.

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    • Fretted over rising malpractice premiums?

    • Signed a truly unbelievable medical liability waiver?

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You don't say...

  • "This election destroyed a popular Karl Rove myth. The truth is that trial attorneys are winning, attacks on trial attorneys are backfiring and opponents of the civil justice system are losing."

    The CEO of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America said.

  • "We have discovered that virtually all patients are willing to sign a contract in which they agree not to sue their doctors on frivolous grounds."

    Jeffrey Segal, M.D, a board-certified neurosurgeon and the founder and president of Medical Justice Services, Inc., said.

  • "Low-risk obstetrics has been done here for 60 years, but not anymore."

    Carl Hanson, chief operating officer of the county-run Minidoka Memorial Hospital in southern Idaho hospital's, explained as they get out of the baby business. Read

  • "I have children, and I don't know where they're at."

    Rosalinda Elison, a former patient at the UC Irvine Medical Center’s fertility clinic, said after learning that that her eggs and embryos had been stolen and implanted in another woman who then gave birth to twins.

    Read more You Don't Say, here.

Crisis by numbers:

  • $4.6 million

    New York state grants available to expand the use of electronic medical records. Such initiatives have been hailed nationally as a way to cut medication errors, save money and improve patient safety. LINK

  • $700,000

    Amount raised by Fairness and Accountability in Insurance Reform to oppose malpractice limits in Arizona. LINK

  • $450,000

    Amount the Arizona Medical Association says Arizonans for Access to Health Care has raised to decide whether to push for montetary limits on lawsuits. LINK

    Read more CRISIS BY NUMBERS, here.

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