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Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Improve Patient Safety

Over the years , several states have tried to implement various legislative measures aimed at limiting the amount negligent doctors and hospitals must pay when they are found liable for medical malpractice.

Maryland has become the latest state to attempt medical malpractice reforms by seeking to establish a "birth injury fund." The fund would help pay for the costs associated with birth injuries. However, the fund would also limit an injured party's ability to file medical malpractice lawsuits by requiring individuals harmed to apply directly to the fund, and provide proof of the injury. An administrative law judge rather than a jury would then decide whether a child is eligible for compensation.

Such legislation could potentially deny individuals and families affected by medical malpractice the opportunity to recover all the compensation they are entitled to.

The fund would be established by requiring certain hospitals and doctors, as well as malpractice insurers, to pay annual fees to the birth injury fund. Families would then apply to these funds to pay their medical bills. Florida, Virginia and New York have similar funds.

While this legislation may sound patient oriented, such a fund can be disastrous for patients and families affected by medical malpractice. First, the effect of a birth injury fund has been shown to significantly reduce the benefits available for individuals who have suffered catastrophic injuries that may have life long consequences such as brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. To save money, there have been drastic reductions in benefits for these catastrophically-injured children.

By eliminating patients ability to file medical malpractice lawsuits, negligent doctors are never asked to explain what happened, and doctors who make critical errors are not held accountable, allowing even the worst practitioners to continue practicing, making states with such funds potential safe harbor for bad doctors. Additionally, negligent doctors and hospitals aren't deterred from committing errors and taking short cuts. The emphasis on improving patient care and safety is eliminated.

Meanwhile, California has the opportunity to change existing medical malpractice "caps "that have prevented injured patients from recovering all the compensation they deserve.

The ballot intiative "38 is too late" would eliminate a cap on damages under California's medical malpractice. If enough signatures are collected, the initiatve will be placed on the state ballot in November 2014.

As California birth injury lawyers, we are committed to fighting to improve patient safety and seeking justice for those injured by medical negligence. We are hopeful that California's proposed legislation will soon become a reality. For more information about birth injury lawsuits, or if you believe your child has been harmed by medical malpractice, Please contact our compassionate California birth injury lawyers immediately for an initial consultation.

Categories: Medical Malpractice
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