Ads press Frist over malpractice suits

Associated Press
Sunday, April 20, 2003

A coalition of consumer, labor and activist groups opposed to U.S. Sen. Bill Frist's support for caps on medical malpractice claims is running television ads against him in Memphis.

"Traditionally, those who have led these kinds of fights have done so without feeling the appropriate pressure for what they've done in their home districts and home states," Joanne Doroshow told The Commercial Appeal newspaper of Memphis.

Doroshow is executive director of the Center for Justice and Democracy and a spokesman for Americans for Insurance Reform, the organization sponsoring the ads.

Frist, a surgeon, is a champion of legislation to cap the amount of punitive damages plaintiffs can claim in suits against fellow doctors and their insurers. He argues that without such protection against claims and rising insurance rates that many doctors will quit the profession or limit their services.

"From our perspective he needs to know there is some very serious opposition to the policies he will be pursuing and his constituency needs to know that," said Doroshow.

Two of the three 30-second ads feature people who say they've been victimized by malpractice. In one ad, Vernon and Shawnna Gardner of South Dakota relate how their 2-year-old son Owen died of dehydration after being taken to a hospital.
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D.

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