Capping the cost of pain and suffering

Minnesota Public Radio
Friday, May 16, 2003

Last year, doctors in Minnesota gave Linda McDougal the news that she had an aggressive form of breast cancer. She and her family were devastated. She took her doctors' advice, and three weeks later had both breasts and lymph nodes removed to stem the cancer's spread. But McDougal never had cancer. A pathologist mixed up her tissue sample with that of another woman who did.

McDougal is now suing the pathologist and the pathologist's employer for lost income. She's also suing to recover damages for her pain and suffering.

When McDougal heard about federal legislation to cap pain and suffering awards at $250,000, she was incensed.

"I think people who think it's reasonable have never had an incident as mine affect a family or a friend. I think they're not looking at it with compassion," McDougal says.

Two groups campaigning against the caps, USAction and the Center for Justice and Democracy, approached McDougal. She agreed to tell her story in TV ads. 


The ads have run in seven states, but not in Minnesota. Pain and suffering caps are not as big of an issue in Minnesota, which has the second-lowest malpractice insurance premiums in the country.
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D.

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