Valley mom to lobby senators

Nebraska’s Fremont Tribune
Tuesday, February 24, 2004

When Lisa Gourley asks U.S. senators today to defeat the medical malpractice proposal before them, she'll speak as a Nebraska mother frustrated by the laws of her home state.
The Senate will vote this week on legislation that will, among other things, place a $250,000 limit on compensation for women and their babies who have suffered brain damage, disfigurement, mutilation, blindness and other non-economic injuries caused by medical malpractice at birth.

Gourley, who will speak to senators and at a press conference today in Washington, D.C., is the Valley mother of identical 9-year-old twins Colin and Connor.

According to the National Practitioners Data Bank, 5 percent of physicians account for 54 percent of the malpractice payouts.

"They're repeat offenders," she said, "and they're still allowed to practice."
Joanne Doroshow, who heads the Center for Justice and Democracy, a national consumer-rights group, predicts the Senate will defeat the proposal before them.

"It doesn't make it any more acceptable a bill by targeting women and newborns," she said.

Doroshow's message to senators: "This bill will have devastating consequences for many catastrophically injured children while doing nothing to help doctors with their insurance problems."

Part of the current malpractice crisis results from underwriting and investment cycles in the insurance industry, she said.

Another part is that state medical licensing boards do almost nothing to crack down on the small number of doctors that are causing most of the malpractice, she said.

"If we did," she said, "We could reduce injury, death and malpractice lawsuits."
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D.

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