Pendleton woman, son join lobby effort in nation’s capital

East Oregonian
Sunday, February 6, 2005

Michael Bridwell may only be 12 years old, but he’s hoping he’ll have a big impact on legislators — and maybe even the president — when he travels to Washington, D.C., Monday to lobby against proposed federal legislation that would put a cap on compensation to victims in medical malpractice lawsuits.

Bridwell and his mother, Theresa Booth, who live in Pendleton, were chosen by the Center for Justice and Democracy as one of 50 families from across the country, and the only from Oregon, to travel to Washington, D.C., to meet with U.S. senators and voice their opinions on the proposed legislation.

Bridwell, now a sixth-grader at Sunridge Middle School, was born with quadriplegic cerebral palsy, which affects all his limbs. He cannot walk or stand on his own and must use a walker. Bridwell also has a learning disability, which makes it difficult for him to retain information, said Booth, who noted that at school, her son must have an aide with him at all times because “he can’t carry his own books.”

Bridwell and Booth hope their concerns about the legislation will be heard loud and clear. Without the compensatory funding Booth and Bridwell received from a 1995 malpractice lawsuit against the Milwaukie doctor who delivered Bridwell two months premature, Booth said she wouldn’t have been able to care for her son the way he needs due to his disability.

“The $250,000 cap (legislators) want to put on wouldn’t even cover the first two months of care for Michael,” Booth said. “With a cap, I wouldn’t have been able to financially make it, not with the special care my son needs.”
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D

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