As the health care debate continues on in Congress, there has been discussion that there should be some form of medical malpractice reform in the bill. There are many independent studies that show that malpractice lawsuits contribute a tiny fraction to the cost of healthcare. Thus, the cost of taking away injured patients rights, is not likely to improve the quality of our health care system or produce any savings. Forty-eight states have already enacted medical malpractice reform measures, but restricting these patients rights has not done anything to improve the health care system or reduce costs. What is clear is that opportunists, such as malpractice insurance companies, and lobbyists supporting doctors and hospitals see the need for real health care reform as an opportunity to take away individual's rights. We should not allow this to happen. Injured patients' rights cannot not be a bargaining chip. The goal of this health care reform is to make sure that every American has access to quality, low-cost health care. It is not about limiting the legal rights of innocent patients harmed by medical negligence.
Reducing the accountability of doctors and hospitals when mistakes are made will not improve health care. In fact, it only makes it worse, and results in us all losing faith and trust in the system. This is not a republican vs. democrat issue. This is a civil rights issue - this is about each and every citizen's access to justice. We at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel urge you all to contact your representatives in congress and tell them that your individual rights are not on the table.
by Allan M. Siegel, Esq.