Thursday, August 17, 2006

THE GREAT MEDICAL MALPRACTICE DEBATE


Very recently, a jury in Louisville rendered a $9 million verdict against University Hospital, finding that hospital personnel were negligent during an elective surgery. The patient, a 40-year-old woman, died after there was apparently a delay in getting needed blood to her. The hospital is appealing the verdict but, unless the case is overturned on appeal, the hospital and / or its liability insurer will have to satisfy the judgment.

This situation highlights some of the major differences that exist between Indiana and Kentucky in the area of medical malpractice law. Through many conversations with individuals, I have found that few private citizens are aware of those differences.

In the University Hospital case described above, the plaintiffs were able to simply go to the courthouse and file their complaint. There was no limit to the amount of damages which they might obtain and, procedurally, the case went along basically as any other litigation would.

Had the incident happened in Indiana, an entirely different set of rules would have applied. In Indiana, before a plaintiff may file a medical malpractice complaint against a qualified health care provider, he or she must first present the claim to a medical review panel. The panel, comprised of three health care professionals and an attorney chairperson, reviews all of the evidence submitted to determine whether, in the panel's expert opinion, the evidence submitted supports the allegation of malpractice. Although it sounds like a simple and straightforward process, I have found the panel process to typically last one to two years.

Once the medical review panel renders its decision, the plaintiff may then proceed to file a complaint in a circuit or superior court. The panel's opinion, however, is admissible in evidence, and the members of the panel may be called upon to testify as to their opinions. If the panel has ruled unanimously in favor of the defendant, the plaintiff must come forward with expert testimony indicating that malpractice occurred. If no such testimony is presented, then the case will be dismissed via summary judgment.

Most significantly, unlike Kentucky, where the sky is the limit, Indiana has a statutory cap on damages for medical malpractice actions. Pursuant to I.C. 34-18-14-3, no qualified health care provider is currently liable for an amount in excess of $250,000 for a single act of malpractice. Further, the total amount recoverable for an injury or death of a patient may not currently exceed $1,250,000.

There has been a great deal of national debate lately about tort reform, and many other states are looking at Indiana as a model. Our system has basically been a good and stable one for a number of years. While some may feel that the system is unfair, I think that it is generally a good statutory scheme which promotes uniformity and reasonable expectations to our citizens. I believe that it also serves to weed out many unmeritorious claims. After all, our health care professionals have more to worry about than when the next lawsuit is going to appear.

5 Comments:

Blogger Highwayman said...

I would agree with you on this. While I feel that the neligent should be held responsible for such and victims should receive compensation for at least financial loss, to punish those who are concientious health service providers via increased malpractice costs serves only to increase the costs for all of us.

7:25 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

louis vuitton outlet, nike air max, louis vuitton, replica watches, burberry handbags, longchamp outlet, ugg boots, michael kors outlet, michael kors outlet online, michael kors outlet, ray ban sunglasses, nike outlet, jordan shoes, louis vuitton outlet, prada handbags, prada outlet, cheap oakley sunglasses, longchamp outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet online, michael kors outlet online, michael kors outlet online, oakley sunglasses, kate spade outlet, ugg boots, oakley sunglasses wholesale, chanel handbags, louis vuitton outlet, nike air max, christian louboutin uk, christian louboutin outlet, tiffany and co, oakley sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses, uggs outlet, christian louboutin, polo outlet, uggs on sale, longchamp outlet, gucci handbags, replica watches, christian louboutin shoes, tory burch outlet, nike free, louis vuitton, tiffany jewelry, burberry outlet, uggs outlet

10:48 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

nike free run, vans pas cher, ralph lauren uk, hollister uk, burberry pas cher, hollister pas cher, north face uk, michael kors, polo lacoste, nike air max uk, timberland pas cher, nike air force, nike tn, nike free uk, true religion outlet, sac vanessa bruno, nike air max uk, ray ban uk, coach outlet store online, lululemon canada, ray ban pas cher, longchamp pas cher, true religion outlet, replica handbags, true religion jeans, nike blazer pas cher, air max, michael kors, oakley pas cher, coach purses, michael kors outlet, converse pas cher, sac hermes, coach outlet, polo ralph lauren, sac longchamp pas cher, nike air max, north face, guess pas cher, hogan outlet, true religion outlet, jordan pas cher, mulberry uk, new balance, nike roshe run uk, nike roshe, kate spade, louboutin pas cher, abercrombie and fitch uk, michael kors pas cher

10:49 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

ferragamo shoes, p90x workout, oakley, valentino shoes, ralph lauren, babyliss, bottega veneta, soccer jerseys, lululemon, wedding dresses, ipad cases, celine handbags, hermes belt, new balance shoes, nike huaraches, north face outlet, chi flat iron, timberland boots, hollister clothing, north face outlet, nike trainers uk, asics running shoes, louboutin, insanity workout, mac cosmetics, iphone 6s cases, giuseppe zanotti outlet, jimmy choo outlet, iphone 6 plus cases, s6 case, ghd hair, longchamp uk, vans outlet, iphone 5s cases, mont blanc pens, nike air max, abercrombie and fitch, instyler, reebok outlet, nike roshe run, baseball bats, herve leger, nfl jerseys, iphone 6s plus cases, soccer shoes, beats by dre, mcm handbags, iphone 6 cases, hollister, iphone cases

10:54 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

canada goose outlet, converse, ugg uk, montre pas cher, moncler outlet, ray ban, wedding dresses, hollister, moncler, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, ugg pas cher, canada goose outlet, marc jacobs, canada goose, louis vuitton, links of london, coach outlet, moncler, juicy couture outlet, ugg, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, replica watches, canada goose, pandora charms, louis vuitton, karen millen uk, louis vuitton, juicy couture outlet, canada goose outlet, canada goose, doudoune moncler, pandora jewelry, hollister, swarovski, pandora uk, barbour uk, barbour, toms shoes, louis vuitton, pandora jewelry, lancel, moncler, converse outlet, moncler uk, louis vuitton, canada goose uk, moncler outlet, moncler, thomas sabo, swarovski crystal, nike air max, supra shoes

10:58 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home