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State legislature considers medical malpractice bills

The Michigan state legislature is considering five new proposed bills that would limit or eliminate the cost of medical malpractice suits throughout the state. Wrongfully called the "Patients First Reform Package" the legislation would actually shift the cost of medical errors to the victims.

Coincidently, the bill's author is a physician himself and many of his colleagues in the legislature are quick to point out the obvious conflict of interest. The medical malpractice legislation was proposed and designed to avert a purported doctor shortage throughout the state of Michigan that some argue does not, nor will not exist. The only explanation is that the bill's author has a financial stake in this issue that is backed by well-financed interest groups.

As a matter of fact, 6 percent of our negligent doctors cause 62 percent of the medical errors in our state. Do we really want to protect them from paying for the lives they devastate because they were drunk, incompetent, negligent, or didn't follow proper procedures or prescription medicine manufacturer instructions? In fact, the only people this law will protect are all the bad doctors from around the country who will come to Michigan to seek immunity and escape accountability.

In addition to defeating these proposed bills, public reporting of medical errors should be mandatory. As it currently stands, the only record of medical malpractice incidents are held in the National Practitioners Database and not open to the public.

Patient safety should be the preferred priority of legislators, not protecting a few bad doctors at the expense of families seriously affected by the devastation of losing a loved one at the hands of those who are supposed to heal them.

Source: mlive.com, "Another View: Medical malpractice bills would shift costs of medical errors to victims," Rep. Stacy Erwin Oakes, June 2, 2012

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