Republicans are still using tort reform as their answer to health care reform. As if, frivolous law suits are why health care is so expensive. We’ve had caps in
By setting arbitrary time limits to file personal injury or medical malpractice claims, putting caps on non-economic and punitive damages, and limiting liability for manufacturers of defective products, tort reform is making it extremely difficult for people to seek compensation when they have truly suffered serious losses at the hands of another. In addition, tort reform weakens the deterrent effect that civil suits have on wrongdoers.
An 85-year-old Alzheimer’s patient living in a
However, tort reform in
The nursing home who hired a sexual predator would continue to run as if nothing had happened. This woman and other victims that were once helped by the civil justice system are now regularly barred from court.
A man who was undergoing open-heart surgery woke up during the middle of his procedure because of being under-anesthetized due to medical error. For three hours, this man drifted in and out of consciousness and suffered severe pain during the surgery, but was helpless to call out in anguish. The breathing tube down his throat prevented him from making a sound and paralytic drugs left him motionless during the procedure.
Approximately 20,000 to 40,000 of the 21 million patients who receive general anesthesia before surgery wake up during their procedure from being under-anesthetized by mistake. These patients undergo extreme physical pain and suffering and often develop post-traumatic stress disorder and other serious psychological problems as a result.
Patients who have tried to speak out about anesthesia awareness have been silenced by doctors and other medical professionals They were told their experiences were “all in their head.” When this open heart patient told the nurse he had been awake during surgery, she did not believe him. When he was able to recount the doctor and nurses'' conversations and where they were standing during surgery, the nurse got the doctor. He said, “Don’t worry the patient won’t remember any of this tomorrow.”
Due to tort reform’s caps on non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and mental anguish, this man and thousands of other medical malpractice victims would not be able to receive compensation for their enormous losses. Many would not even get a chance to bring their claim to court. Negligent medical professionals responsible for this nightmare would continue to threaten the well-being of patients unabated.
The really sad thing about all of this is, it doesn’t bring down the cost of healthcare! I have pointed out before that it would be cheaper for us to have single payer universal healthcare. Please refer to my Associated Content article from 2008, it still applies.