Group wants doctors to stop lobbying patients
Thursday, January 20, 2005

Group wants doctors to stop lobbying patients
January 20, 2005

Word that some doctors are asking patients to sign tort-reform petitions before treating them has prompted a warning from a group that sides with "injured consumers."

The Center for Justice & Democracy says it "fights to protect the right to trial by jury and an independent judiciary for all Americans." It blames the insurance industry for creating the medical malpractice crisis, and it opposes tort reform.

The Center for Justice & Democracy this week sent a letter to the American Medical Association, "strongly" urging the AMA to "condemn doctors who are forcing patients to sign political petitions against their interests in order to receive medical care, and to denounce any state AMA chapter that supports this appalling practice."

CJ&D said its letter was prompted by reports that a Washington State Ob/Gyn had stopped treating a pregnant patient when she refused to sign a petition supporting Washington State Initiative 330.

That initiative, which is expected to go before voters in November, would cap non-economic damages and it also would limit the fees of trial lawyers in medical malpractice lawsuits.

But as CJ&D sees it, Initiative 330 would limit compensation to patients who are injured by their doctors.

"It is shocking that a dedicated physician would refuse to treat a patient with different political beliefs than his own," said Laurie Beacham, communications director for CJ&D. "What is next? Refusing to treat patients of different religions? Of different political parties? Such factors have no place in the doctor-physician relationship," she said.

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

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