A senate committee has begun considering whether to make changes in Florida’s medical-malpractice laws, reviving a debate that has flared repeatedly during the past decade. As reported by the Saint Peters Times – Judiciary Committee Chairman Tom Lee said he wanted to get a sense of how other lawmakers view a series of proposals floating in the Legislature and has not decided how he wants to proceed. One of the proposals would place an additional restriction on expert witnesses who testify against doctors in medical-malpractice cases. Also, Tallahassee physician Richard Thacker urged approval of a proposal that would stiffen legal requirements for proving that doctors have committed malpractice by not doing medical tests. œEvery lawsuit changes a doctor, and generally not for the better, whether they are the defendant or not, Thacker said.
These are not the only proposals being considered. Patients for Fair Compensation are pushing to redo the entire system. They propose to do away with patients having to sue negligent healthcare providers and start a “no fault” automatic settlement set up similiar to the current workers compensation system.
Attorneys who represent plaintiffs quoted in both articles argue that the changes are unnecessary and would further limit the ability of malpractice victims to get compensated for their injuries. I agree with these lawyers. These proposals are a waste. They do not increase the safety of Florida residents nor do they reduce the costs associated with medical care. There are already a significant amount of restrictions and barriers that patients have to address to bring a medical malpractice case. These proposals will increase the difficulty faced by patients and the lawyers hired to bring such claims. Remember, there are already restrictions which deter an enormous fraction of patients who are harmed by medical negligence to either make no effort to recover damages or cannot find lawyers willing to take their cases . These patients, who are entitled to compensation, never sue.
There is no such thing as frivolous medical malpractice cases. Healthcare costs that are increasing have nothing to do with medical malpractice lawsuits that are filed. Call your local representative and senator and tell them to vote no on any new restrictions proposed during the 2013 legislative session.