Medical malpractice caps are unfair to victims. It is just that simple.
There is a lot of controversy over medical malpractice lawsuit caps, with
most of it focusing on the raw deal an innocent victim gets if they have
been harmed at the hands of a medical professional, or by a medical product.
This is an issue that has taken on a life of its own, and shows no signs
of slowing down. And, really, why would it when every day someone suffers
the consequences of medical malpractice?
This issue is vitally important to everyone in this nation, as at some
point in time, we may need medical care. Will we come out of the process
in one piece? Will be have a successful outcome with the doctor? Or, will
we wind up debilitated, with our whole life turned upside down, because
of an error? More often than not, this is becoming a question patients
contemplate before they take a trip to the hospital for any type of medical
Just recently, President Obama suggested he wanted to look at reforms to
medical malpractice and other options to tweak health care, rather than
repealing the health care reform bill. The premise behind that is a quest
to find other ways to bring down health care costs. So far, so good. Unfortunately,
he then commented he would put med mal reforms up front and center to
“rein in frivolous lawsuits.” You may recall the House suggesting
legislation that would put into place a $250,000 cap for pain and suffering
caused by health care goods/services or any medical product.
This med mal cap suggestion put the fire of outrage under patient advocate
groups, and rightly so. The term frivolous lawsuit in the same sentence
as medical malpractice is unconscionable. Most med mal patients are seriously
harmed, and have no way to live their lives without financial compensation.
They are victims of catastrophic medical malpractice, and someone has
to be held responsible for the mistake that turned them into a shadow
of their former self; for ruining their lives, compromising their health
and possibly killing them.
There are at least 35 states with some form of med mal caps on damage awards.
The House is making noises about a law similar to Texas and California,
but they are trying to stretch it another step further, and limit damage
awards for injuries caused by drugs and medical devices. Think about that
for a minute. How far reaching would something like that be? Would it
mean medical device makers could get off paying limited damages for a
defective product? Would it mean the drug makes would get off paying limited
damages for a dangerous drug?
On one side of the debate are doctors, who think caps will keep malpractice
insurance rates affordable and keep doctors in their practices. On the
other side of the debate are those asking about the victim, who suffered
significant harm or death due to a medical error. Why should they pay
for the doctor to keep on making mistakes? Why should they accept a damage
cap of $250,000, if the actual award may be closer to $3 million? Med
mal lawsuits can be very ugly and graphic, but why shouldn’t they
be if a medical professional messed up? No lawyer takes an infected hangnail
case to court.
When it comes to medical malpractice, there is really no such thing as
a frivolous lawsuit. If you want a prime example of one, just think about
the woman who was texting as she walked, and fell into a fountain. She
wanted to sue the mall where it happened for not putting up railings around
the fountain. Whatever happened to looking where you were walking? Since
she was supposedly a mall employee, it would hardly be a surprise the
fountain was where it was when she fell into it. No, medical malpractice
lawsuits get to court because they have real merit.
There are further arguments that med mal caps are unconstitutional. That
aside, the real concern here is the victim. Who is speaking for them?
Will you speak up for yourself if you have been in a situation where you
had to take a capped damage award and cannot pay your medical bills? You
need to speak out and speak up. This is not just about your life; it is
about the lives of others that may also be affected by