Letter to the Editor: No to health courts

Boston Herald
Tuesday, February 21, 2006

While health courts might seem appealing at first blush, they are fraught with problems (``A state health court would be in order,'' Feb. 15).
Injured patients would give up their legal rights and get nothing remotely equal in return.
In proposals advanced so far, it is unclear how the medical experts would be chosen.
But it appears the decision-makers would be heavily weighted toward the healthcare industry, creating an imbalance in power between individuals and powerful interests.
Also, this would not be a no-fault system like other administrative programs; patients would still have to prove the fault of their doctors, but without the normal safeguards of the legal system.
Finally, the most severely injured patients who are entitled to fair compensation beyond the most basic medical expenses would be denied that, and even repeat offenders and reckless healthcare providers would be shielded from liability.
Real solutions to medical malpractice problems are reducing medical errors and better self-policing of the medical profession, as well as tighter regulations for insurance companies that price-gouge hardworking doctors so premiums can be affordable.
Health courts achieve none of these objectives.
- Laurie Beacham, Communications Director, Center for Justice and Democracy

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