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New federal bill seeks to limit recover for physician's negligence

Whenever any of us go to a hospital in Michigan, we have the very reasonable expectation that we will come out in better shape than when we went in. Of course, there are times when due to chronic condition or just the limits of modern medicine, there is nothing that the doctor can do. At the very least however we should be able to expect that we will not leave the hospital in worse condition than when we entered do to negligence on the part of the hospital or doctor.

Medical malpractice can have serious and even fatal consequences. A surgical error or a failed diagnosis can lead to the need for painful treatment and rehabilitation and potentially permanent afflictions. But a bill was approved in the U.S. House this week would cap non-economic damages. The bill, if passed would also preempt any state laws related joint and several liability for medical malpractice suits which will make if more difficult for victims of medical malpractice to be compensated even when they successful in their lawsuit.

To look at this another way, consider for a moment what dollar amount you would deem fair in exchange for being severely injured as a result of a medical procedure gone wrong. A likely response would be that there is no amount of money that you would accept in exchange for those type of injuries. Unfortunately victims of medical malpractice are never given that choice. You can also consider what amount you would except in exchange for this type of harm coming to one of your family members.

Source: ABA Journal, "ABA Sends Letter to House Objecting to 'Troubling Tort Reform Language' in Medical Bill," Debra Cassens Weiss, March 22, 2012

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