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Michigan lawmakers may make filing malpractice suits difficult

Even though our local Michigan elected officials are back home for a summer break and the state legislature is not in session, several new bills regarding malpractice lawsuits appeared on the docket. Of course, we will be watching their progression diligently.

There were companion bills from the state House and Senate introduced that would not allow people to file a medical malpractice claim against emergency room doctors unless they could meet the definition of least gross negligence.

There was a state senate bill introduced that would raise the burden of proof of medical malpractice to help doctors defend against lawsuits. The bill would let the court system define the law in each case and basically starts with the premise that all physicians act with reasonable medical judgment, in the good-faith, and in the best interest of the patient.

Another Senate bill suggested that the Department of Community Health, hospitals and other health care facilities post complaints and disciplinary actions taken against their doctors. Similarly, companion bills in both houses would forbid doctors from disallowing their patients from writing negative comments about them on the internet as a condition of treatment.

All of the bills were referred to committees and no other actions were taken.

As we discussed in our June 4 entry, the Michigan state legislature is already 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.

In addition, our March 23 blog discussed federally proposed legislation that would cap non-economic damages in medical malpractice suits. The bill, if passed would also preempt any state medical malpractice laws, effectively making it more difficult for victims of medical malpractice to be compensated, even when they successful in their lawsuit.

Source: petoskeynews.com, "Political tracker: Bills recently introduced into the Michigan House and Senate," July 16, 2012

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