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AARP Comes Out Against Medical Malpractice Caps in NY

Posted by Andrew J. Barovick | Mar 16, 2011 | 0 Comments

ASSEMBLY MAKES RIGHT MOVE ON REJECTING

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CAPS

Statement by

Lois Wagh Aronstein

AARP New York State Director

March 15, 2011

AARP commends the leadership of Assembly Speaker Silver and the Assembly for putting forth a budget proposal that rejects the Governor's proposal to severely restrict consumers' ability to recover damages in medical malpractice cases. We are disappointed that the Senate did not similarly reject this proposal in their budget.

The Governor's proposal would impose an unreasonable and artificial cap of $250,000 on non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering awards. This proposal will hurt many consumers, particularly seniors, by making it much harder for these individuals to obtain justice in the courts when they have been injured by the negligence of others. Older persons, who have few, if any economic damages because they may no longer be employed, will not be fully and fairly compensated if such a cap were imposed.

Preventable medical injuries that are the result of medical errors are widespread and costly. Older patients are particularly vulnerable to preventable medical injury. An AARP Public Policy Institute paper found that at least six percent of hospitalized patients age 65 and older suffer a treatment-caused injury serious enough to result in a measurable disability or to prolong their hospital stay. This is approximately twice the rate of injury in younger patients.

A $250,000 cap could allow those who caused the injury to avoid being held fully accountable for the pain and suffering they have caused. Capping non-economic damages, particularly for this vulnerable population, sends the message that these individuals can be harmed by the negligence of others without any serious financial consequences. It will simply be another cost of doing business. We cannot let this happen in our state.

AARP strongly believes that a final budget should not include this very harmful cap on a consumer's ability to seek justice for the pain and suffering caused by medical negligence.

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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