“Tort reform” has once again succeeded in kicking a man when he is already down. According to yesterday’s Chron.com , the great state of Texas (known for giving us not only “W,” but our country’s highest rate of execution of prisoners) is not such a great place to lose all of your limbs due to a doctor’s negligence. A Dallas jury found an infectious disease physician committed malpractice when the regimen of antibiotics he prescribed to the patient did not include any that treated MRSA, which led to the infection that brought about the loss of limbs.
The jury wanted to award $17.5 million dollars to the patient, but Texas’s caps on pain and suffering prevented him from receiving $10 million dollars of the jury’s award, limiting him to a total of $7.5 million dollars.
Considering that the 53-year-old plaintiff cannot care for himself and will need assistance for the rest of his life, the award envisioned by the jury that heard his case was entirely appropriate. The caps that deprived him of that award not only lessened the plaintiff’s ability to live out the remainder of his life in a dignified manner, but diluted the power of the jury–the body that saw and heard the actual evidence in the case. Sorry, Texas, but that is downright un-American.