Proposed Medical Malpractice Reform
Our Panama City medical malpractice lawyer is all too familiar with what can happen when doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals make mistakes that hurt their patients. Medical mistakes can cause infections, loss of limbs, misdiagnosed or undiagnosed diseases, paralysis, and death. In addition to consequences that affect physical health, these negligent mistakes can also lead to severe financial loss due to additional medical bills incurred because of the malpractice and other types of financial hardship, such as lost wages.
Therefore, when doctors make mistakes, it is important for the patients who are harmed to be able to get compensation for their suffering. Although money can never undo what happened, it is sometimes the only available option. It also works as an incentive to make doctors take additional precautions to avoid similar mistakes in the future.
According to an article by the Insurance Journal, however, a bill has been introduced in the Florida legislature that would severely limit patients' ability to recover in a Florida medical malpractice lawsuit. The bill would add additional protections for doctors, even though the state already has an involved process for these types of cases, including a requirement that doctors be given notice of the claim before a lawsuit is filed, as well as liability caps that limit how much a patient may recover in certain types of cases. If the bill passes, it will raise the standard of proof and make it more difficult for patients to prove their allegations and prevail in court.
In addition, the bill raises serious privacy concerns with the provisions that would allow an attorney representing a doctor to interview other doctors that the patient visited around the same time. Thus, by filing a medical malpractice claim, the patient would essentially be authorizing strangers to dig through his or her medical records, even if they have nothing to do with the issue at hand.
Unfortunately, if passed, this provision will likely be enough to dissuade some people with legitimate claims from ever filing them, which will make it easier for those doctors who are habitually negligent to continue practicing.
The bill coincides with other reports that show Florida is facing a severe shortage of medical staff in 2012. An article by the Sun Sentinel notes that with many nurses retiring and with increasing regulations because of the new federal health care laws, the state expects to have a shortage of about 15,000 nurses this year.
The shortage will undoubtedly translate into more overworked nurses and doctors, which will likely also mean more mistakes and oversights as tired medical staff members try to keep up with the demands of caring for more and more patients in less time. More patients are likely to become victims of medical mistakes, making it even more important for local residents to turn to a Panama City personal injury lawyer to help them get the compensation they deserve.
Most medical professionals work diligently day in and day out to provide quality care to their patients. However, that does not mean that when mistakes are made, those hurt do not deserve fair compensation for the harm caused. If you find yourself in this situation, please get in touch with our Panama City medical malpractice lawyer to share your story and see how we can help.