1,000 doctors join rally

Massachusetts’ Republican
Wednesday, April 9, 2003

Dr. Elliot B. Greenberg, an obstetrician in Springfield, stopped delivering babies in January when his medical malpractice insurance more than doubled to $80,000 a year.

Like many other obstetricians, Greenberg said he quit when the annual cost of his insurance exceeded the money he was paid for delivering about 100 babies a year. In his group of nine doctors, Greenberg and three other specialists in obstetrics and gynecology are now only gynecologists, raising questions about the future of obstetrics in Massachusetts.

In all, 11 obstetricians from the Springfield area ceased delivering babies or moved out of state since the start of the year, Greenberg said.
"I feel terrible," said Greenberg, who delivered babies at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield since 1991. "I can't do what I was trained to do."

Greenberg was among about 1,000 physicians who packed the Statehouse yesterday to rally support for overhauling the state's medical malpractice system and to highlight the crisis affecting health care. They said skyrocketing insurance costs are forcing many high-risk specialists to leave the state. They called for a cap on the amount of damages awarded in malpractice suits.


However, limiting the rights of catastrophically injured patients won't bring down liability premiums, said Rebecca Hoffman, organizing director for the New York-based Center for Justice and Democracy. "Insurance companies raise their rates when investments start to perform badly," she said.

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