Another hospital to cease birthing; Aventura latest to cite insurance

Miami Herald
Saturday, October 19, 2002


Soaring malpractice insurance premiums have claimed their first major victim in South Florida: Aventura Hospital has announced that it will stop delivering babies next month.

The hospital said that each birth was costing it $1,000 in insurance premiums and that it could no longer bear the expense.

"We've been delivering babies here for six years and never had a lawsuit, but we pay a million dollars a year in premiums for our obstetrics program, so you tell me what's out of whack in this industry," said Davide M. Carbone, Aventura's chief executive.

"This is the most significant occurrence of the professional liability insurance crisis here," said Arthur Palamara, a Broward surgeon who heads the tort reform committee of the Florida Medical Association. "And it foreshadows future closings and disturbances of care."

Obstetric units have already closed in five other hospitals in the state, according to the Florida Hospital Association. And there's been talk in Orlando of having to close the area's top trauma center because of insurance expenses.

Hospitals throughout South Florida are being hammered by soaring premiums. Baptist Health South Florida reports that its malpractice insurance has climbed from $7.3 million in 2000 to $27.6 million in 2002.

. . .

Trial-lawyer groups, meanwhile, say that what is needed is better doctors, not legal reforms. And a lawyer-backed consumer group, the Center for Justice and Democracy, blames the "unregulated corporate greed" of the insurance industry."

For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D.                

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