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Medical Malpractice Caps Are Ill-Advised.Tort “Reform” Hurts.

Posted by Andrew J. Barovick | Nov 13, 2009 | 0 Comments

The New York State Bar Association, of which I am proud to be a member, is yet another nationally recognized and bipartisan organization that sees through the tort “reform” movement.  In a November 13, 2009 letter to U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kristin Gillibrand, The NYSBA's President, Michael E. Getnick, urged that “[i]n assessing the current tort system, it is at least as important to consider the victims of malpractice in comparison to those who cause them personal injury.  We have seen…that the attack of tort reformers is a movement that favors cost savings over quality and that emphasizes the corporate bottom line over safety of the public.”  And he specifically called for a rejection of caps on damages.

“We object to legislation to cap pain and suffering compensation for victims of medical malpractice. Such caps would unjustly discriminate against classes of accident victims who suffer devastating physical and psychological losses.”

And speaking of caps, Michelle Mello, of Harvard's School of Public Health, is not impressed with them, according to MarketWatch's HealthMatters Blog . Professor Mello finds that any impact on medical liability has been modest, and the practice raises issues of fairness to victims.  However, she and Kristen Gerencher, the post's author, have some interesting thoughts on health courts.

I'll rely on Patrick Quinlan , of InjuryBoard, to close today's post.  He points out that John Stossel, sketchy television news reporter and recent vocal advocate for tort “reform,” is a hypocrite, given Stossel's own use of us “trial lawyers.”  But…is it news if we are not surprised? 

Somehow, it reminds me of the hypocritical ways of the RNC, and its leader, Michael Steel, who was quite vocal and self-righteous about keeping the dreaded “coverage for abortion” out of President Obama's health care reform bill.  Of course, Republicans, especially the conservative kind, would never allow such immorality to taint them in any fashion.  But wait.  What's that, Mike?  The RNC offered its employees insurance coverage for elective abortions ? Luckily for us real Americans, Chairman Steele, now that he knows about it,  has promised that this option will no longer exist under his administration, according to the LA Times.  I don't know about you, but I feel reassured.   And if you guessed that Steele and his cronies are proponents of tort “reform,” you'd be right.

About the Author

Andrew J. Barovick

Mr. Barovick is a graduate of Columbia College and Cardozo School of Law. He began his legal career at the Queens District Attorney’s Office, where he tried over 20 felonies to verdict, and argued an equal number of appeals before the Appellate Division, Second Department, the New York Court of Appeals and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

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REPRESENTATIVE VERDICTS & SETTLEMENTS:

$7.9 million dollars for infant client who suffered severe brain injuries due to post- delivery medical malpractice.

$500,000 wrongful death/medical malpractice settlement on behalf of patient brought to hospital emergency room with serious injuries who suffered complications while unmonitored and died.

$425,000 wrongful death/medical malpractice settlement during trial on behalf of senior hospital patient whose surgeon failed to timely address her worsening symptoms, resulting in her death.

$250,000 to young man whose physician failed to diagnose an impending torsion testicle, causing the loss of the affected testicle.

$200,000 to young mother whose OB/GYN failed to timely diagnose and treat her ectopic pregnancy, resulting in excruciating, long-term pain and the need for surgery to address the ectopic pregnancy once it was diagnosed.

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