Doctor's plea for Malpractice Cap dies in Court
The Florida Supreme court has allowed lawyers in Florida to have their clients waive the constitutional limits on fees.
TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Supreme Court has handed a final defeat to doctors who fought for years to place stringent caps on attorney fees in medical malpractice cases.
The high court ruling late last week finalizes an earlier decision that lets patients waive a constitutional limit on legal fees in medical malpractice cases that voters approved two years ago.
In response, the state's largest medical group announced late last week it would start arming doctors with their own forms for patients to sign that would limit doctors' legal risk if they're sued.
Article Source: www.news-press.com
Damages Cap Unconstitutional
In Louisiana the cap on Medical Malpractice damages was set at $500,000 in 1975. Well the Louisiana Supreme Court has recently ruled that that amount ($500,000) in not adequate anymore. It is too low.
BATON ROUGE -- Louisiana's $500,000 cap on medical malpractice damages, set in 1975, is unconstitutional because it no longer provides an adequate remedy to patients, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal in Lake Charles has ruled in a 3-2 decision.
A $500,000 award would be worth about $160,000 today, the opinion, issued Wednesday, said. The court said evidence indicates the cap would have to be raised to $1.6 million or $1.7 million to provide the same protection as it did 31 years ago.
"In either case, we find the current $500,000 cap fails to provide an adequate remedy to today's severely injured plaintiffs, and thus, is unconstitutional. ," the ruling says.
For the full story please see www.wwltv.com
Remember -- Insurance Premiums are supposed to go down.
In South Carolina a cap on malpractice verdicts went into effect about 1 year ago. Here is an article discussing when or whether doctor's premiums will go down. Time will tell.
It's been a little more than a year since the state cap on malpractice pay-outs took effect, but both supporters and opponents say it will be years before its impact is felt -- if ever.
The law took effect in July 2005 and limits damages commonly known as pain and suffering to $350,000 per defendant and a total of $1.05 million if more than one provider is involved. It does not affect economic losses.
Supporters of the caps say they are needed to reduce high jury awards and frivolous lawsuits, which they say led to soaring malpractice premiums that have been driving doctors out of the profession.
Opponents say the premiums were so high to offset insurers' investment losses, artificially low premiums offered to attract business in the 1990s, and other industry factors. They also say caps hurt those who've suffered legitimate injuries.
Heart Attack Verdict in California
An example of a misdiagnosis of heart condition and the resulting verdict.
Jun. 3--Daniel Bettencourt was 49 when he suffered a fatal heart attack while working as a manual laborer at E.&J. Gallo Winery on Jan. 15, 2003.
An autopsy determined that the Modesto man had more than 90 percent blockage in an artery that supplies blood to the left side of the heart.
Last week, a jury found that Gould Medical Group doctors had failed to diagnose Bettencourt's heart condition.
The verdict, supported by 11 of the 12 jurors following a civil trial in Stanislaus County Superior Court, awarded $878,257 to his widow, Peggy Bettencourt. Because Gould turned down a settlement offer last year, the medical group may have to pay interest and legal costs, bringing the judgment to almost $1 million.
Stockton attorney Stewart Tabak, who represents Bettencourt, said there were two key issues in the case: A Gould cardiologist failed to order a coronary angiograph test for Daniel Bettencourt to look for artery blockage and disregarded a family history of heart disease. Bettencourt's mother had bypass surgery in her 50s, Tabak said.
"This young man gave repeated red flags that something serious was going on," he said. "Regrettably, he fell through the cracks and he was allowed to die."
For the rest of the article, please go to the source below.
Doctors Have Trouble with Insurance Companies Too.
Wow. Even doctors have trouble getting the care they need.
It's easy to imagine that doctors don't get sick. Surely the hygienic shield of the sterile white coat guards them from ever having to put on the flapping gown and flimsy bracelet, climb meekly into the crisp bed and be at the mercy of the U.S. health-care system. And if somehow they did enter the hospital as a patient, physicians ought to have every advantage: an insider's knowledge, access to top specialists, built-in second opinions, no waiting, no insane bureaucratic battles and no loss of identity or dignity when you turn into the "bilateral mastectomy in Room 402." But it doesn't usually work that way. While doctors are often in a better position than most of us to spot the hazards in the hospital and the holes in their care, they can't necessarily fix them. They can't even avoid them when they become patients themselves. When Dr. Lisa Friedman felt the lump in her breast in the summer of 2001, she did--nothing. "I just sat on it," she says, "because I clicked into the mode of being physician, not patient, and I thought, 'Most lumps are not cancer, I'll just watch this.'" That was her first mistake.
By September Friedman had watched long enough. An internist in a practice that covers much of southern Wisconsin, she went to her radiology department to schedule a mammogram. The administrators turned her down: her HMO paid for routine mammograms every two years, and she'd had one 18 months before. "I said, 'Wait a minute, I feel a lump. This is not routine.' They still wouldn't let me do it."
Read the rest of the Article at Time.
US Senate Fights About Capping Malpractice Recoveries-- AGAIN
Ian Malone was born with a severe brain injury because the obstetrician gave his mother a drug that had not been approved for inducing labor. His parents settled their legal claim for $2 million.
The injury that left Ian unable to swallow or raise his head until he died from pneumonia at age 4 is Exhibit A for opponents of a measure, already passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, that would limit medical malpractice awards for pain and suffering to $250,000.
Supporters of the limit, meanwhile, cite equally wrenching examples of physicians driven from their practices by skyrocketing insurance premiums, leaving their patients adrift.
The dueling anecdotes were the backdrop for crucial votes Monday on a pair of Senate bills that are variations on the limit passed in the House.
One measure would permit patients to recover $250,000 for each defendant and as much as $750,000 if multiple health providers were held liable; the second would impose the $250,000 limit for obstetricians only. Richard Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranking Senate Democrat, predicted that Republicans, who control the Senate 55-45, would not muster the support of 60 senators needed to approve bringing the measure to the floor for a vote.
The deadlock underscores the lack of a clear solution to compensate legitimate victims of medical mistakes while curbing rising premiums, said Kenneth Abraham, who teaches personal injury law at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
Read the full story at the following Link
Source: International Herald Tribune
Is HPV connected to Skin Cancer too?
HPV (Human papillomavirus) has long been connected with increasing the risk of cervical cancer. A report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute that was released on March 15th links HPV to squamous cell carcinoma.
NEW YORK MAR 14, 2006 (Reuters Health) - Human papillomavirus (HPV) types from the genus beta appear to play a role in the pathogenesis of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin, according to a report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute for March 15th.
HPV infection has been strongly linked to several epithelial cancers, but whether such infections are involved in the etiology of keratinocyte malignancies is unclear, lead author Dr. Margaret R. Karagas, from the Dartmouth Medical School in Lebanon, New Hampshire, and colleagues note.
"It is becoming increasingly evident that HPV acts as a carcinogen in malignancies other than cervical cancer," the authors conclude. "Although sun exposure and sun sensitivity are the major risk factors for keratinocyte cancers, our data support a role of HPV, particularly beta HPVs, in the development of squamous cell carcinoma."
Source: Women's Cancer Network
Georgia Groups say Tort Reform Failed
Give us Tort reform and we will lower the insurance premiums for doctors. That's the party line from Insurance companies.
In Georgia, two groups, AARP and Georgiawatch apparently don't believe that this idea worked.
Two groups now say a controversial tort reform law is a failure. This, on the one-year anniversary of the law, which places a $350,000 cap on malpractice pain and suffering awards, and makes it difficult to sue if the malpractice takes place in an emergency room. Georgiawatch and the AARP say the reform has not decreased doctors' insurance premiums as expected. And, the groups say it has made it it hard for people like John Dinda, who almost died in an emergency room. "We called a lawyer and basically he says forget it. You got no chance of doing anything," Dinda tells Channel 2 Action News. Senator Preston Smith, who sponsored the bill, says seven new insurance companies are now underwriting malpractice premiums because of the law, and he says, given time, premiums will fall for doctors.
Cervical Cancer is Preventable
From the Lansing State Journal, an article describing how cervical cancer is preventable.
New moles more dangerous on older people
Melbourne researchers have found new moles on older people's skin are 30 times more likely to be cancerous than on young people.
The Victorian Melanoma Service study revealed that people over the age of 50 had to be vigilant about protecting themselves against skin cancer.
As well as the findings about new moles, the study found moles that changed in appearance on older patients were seven times more likely to be melanomas.