23 February 2004
Some level of government (I forget if it's state or federal. State makes sense, since PA really has seen an exodus of doctors) is again proposing caps on awards from medical malpractice lawsuits. They've previously not gotten enough votes, but they're trying it again applying a $250k cap to only obstetrics (baby birth) cases.
These caps are hard to pass into law, because, in my opinion, they are the wrong thing to do. If someone has a legitimate case, it's hard to to tell a person that they're compensation will be inadequate.
The current approach has been to limit the impact of garbage lawsuits through an award cap. Allowing an unfounded suit to proceed and just limit the damages wastes litigation time and cheats the real victims of proper compensation. New rules and guidelines (for juries, judges, etc) must be enacted to identify the real cases and to stop the bad cases from even proceeding. Unfounded cases should be awarded nothing.
Here's another approach to make plaintiffs regulate themselves: If you try to abuse the system by asking for exorbitant amounts, it should be kicked out of the system completely. You're no longer allowed to go in asking for $10M hoping to get awarded a compromised $3M.
Something must be done, especially in Pennsylvania. Our doctors are fleeing the state, and we'll be left with none. These are smart people who've spent many years studying to help other people, and we need to stop exposing them and their insurance companies to today's flood of unfounded litigation. It's a vicious cycle, and we, the normal people are paying the price in insurance premiums.
Filed Under: Politics