Tort Reform Is Not Needed
July 28, 2010
It is very sad and disconcerting to see that intelligent persons fall pray to the propaganda and the misinformation campaign put out for public consumption by the Insurance Industry and the Business Lobby who would benefit from a reduction in core Constitutional Rights.
Consider Dr. Parks’ blog entry below in which he takes exception to the supposed argument made by a plaintiff attorney in a case in which the jury found the doctor to have been at fault. There is no doubt that there are times when something a doctor does goes wrong or ends up not having the intended result. Because medicine is an art and not a science, the law gives doctors and medical providers a threshold in which they may operate without fearing repercussions even if something goes wrong, That is called the “standard of care” which is a subjective standard. Under this standard, what a doctor does is reviewed and compared to that which is done by other doctors in a similar situation. If the doctor falls short of the standard of care then it may be said that he has been negligent–if not, then no negligence can be claimed. The “standard of care” is a community standard where the idea is that if most doctors say something should be done under certain circumstances, then failure to do that certain something is proof of negligence.
So in the example provided by Dr. Parks, what he fails to realize is that a verdict is the sum of all presentations made to a panel of 12 jurors—regular persons just like you and I—with a plethora of different opinions and all. During the trial of a case, the jury will hear from the Plaintiff, will also hear from the defense attorney.
They will also hear expert testimony on behalf of both the Plaintiff and the Defendant. They get to evaluate the facts and must come to a unanimous decision.
It would be irresponsible to render an opinion without having first considered all the facts—that is the facts that the jury actually saw and not some third hand anecdotal version. It is a disservice to the public not to provide the readers with an accurate account of the event—and if the jury came to a wrong result (which happens from time to time) it does not mean that the answer is to limit the right to take a case in front of them—rather it only means that we need to be more careful. It also means that the defendant should take the matter to appeal — if the judge or the jury have made gross errors in judgment.
Tort reform seeks to limit Constitutional Rights of an individual American and it gives negligent doctors immunity for the damages caused by their negligence—NOT damages done by things that can simply go wrong. As a consumer, isn’t that the best answer we can hope for from our Legislature?
“I was incredulous to read about the case of the EMT service sued for negligence for transporting a pregnant woman to a tertiary care center in Florida. The woman went into labor in the ambulance and the heroic paramedics had to deliver a breeched 25 week- old baby and then resuscitate him en route to the hospital. The boy lived but ended up with cerebral palsy secondary to prolonged hypoxia during the delivery. The doctors and hospitals had both settled the case for $1.4 million. The EMT company didn’t feel it needed to settle, thinking there was no way they could lose at trial. They lost. And the verdict was for 10 million buckaroos…
Read on: No tort reform needed. Really!=