Doctors become lobbyists, fight for malpractice reform

Associated Press
Tuesday, April 8, 2003

Nearly 1,000 physicians, clad in white coats and carrying signs of protest, descended on the Statehouse Tuesday to demand a firm limit on pain-and-suffering awards in medical malpractice cases.

The unlikely lobbyists, who joined a national uprising against high malpractice premiums, argued that rising insurance costs are forcing many to abandon their practices and threatening patients' ability to get the care they need.

On the outskirts of the large gathering, John McCormack, of Pembroke, held aloft a picture of his daughter, Taylor, in silent protest. Taylor died in 2000 at 13 months while waiting overnight for surgery at Children's Hospital.
"The governor talks about meeting with members of the medical profession, but he never mentioned once about speaking with the victims," McCormack said after the rally. "I don't have a vendetta against doctors, but they should be held accountable like everyone else."

Victims' advocates argue that it's the greed of insurance companies - and not high jury awards - that are driving the rising premium prices.
"This is really an insurance problem," said Rebecca Hoffman, organizing director for the New York-based Center for Justice and Democracy.

"Limiting the rights of catastrophically injured patients will never bring down the liability insurance premiums for doctors, because insurance companies raise their rates when investments start to perform badly."
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D.

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