$250,000 cap on malpractice suits - page 2

What is your opinion on limiting malpractice awards in Florida. Supporters of caps contend huge malpractice awards by juries are driving up malpractice insurance premiums, forcing some doctors to... Read More

  1. by   Vsummer1
    Originally posted by 3rdShiftGuy
    However, where I'm torn is those injuries that cause permanent disability and the person is going to need care for the rest of his life. They will need more than 250,000.

    Perhaps a case by case basis is best, but multi-million dollar awards are not appropriate all the time either.
    The cap only applies to the "pain and suffering" award. The patient will still be covered for the care they need. The 250K is above and beyond all medical needs.
  2. by   dana d
    My heart does not bleed for the insurance companys or the attorneys. Yes, Yes, Yes their needs to be a cap. I agree with Zee RN, huge law suits will not stop medical errors. A law suit will not even bring back a child. Insurance co. and attorneys are raking in the money and using pitty and ignorance to accomplish it. If people don't agree and start supporting a cap, soon they will be after hospitals, and nurses. Where will that leave the general public. There just isn't anything like cutting off your nose to spite your face!!
  3. by   Tweety
    Originally posted by Vsummer1
    The cap only applies to the "pain and suffering" award. The patient will still be covered for the care they need. The 250K is above and beyond all medical needs.
    Then I'm all for it. Thanks for the clarification.
  4. by   canoehead
    I'm all for a cap but if the case has enough merit that the maximum is awarded I think that the doc in question should be barred from practicing medicine for a year as part of the deal. This should be in addition to any supervision or penalties that the medical board feels is necessary.
  5. by   tonchitoRN
    another thing to remember is that most cases are settled, so even if the md or hospital staff thinks they are not guilty they do not have the opportunity to prove it. it goes on your record and you never have your chance in court.

    in school i am appalled about the cases i read in the text books. many of those seem frivoulous. nurses being held accountable for cases that were probably not their fault. one case that stands out in my mind is a nurse working in ob reported post partum bleeding to the md. the md said it was normal. 3 calls later nothing was done and the pt. eventually hemorraged and died. heartbreaking, yes. but it looks like the nurse did try to do something. the court said she did not do enough, she should have called someone else.
    another case a nurse was floated to ob. she put in writing that she had NO ob experience and was not qualified to work there. as you know floating policy goes if you don't go be prepared to fight for your job. as luck would have it she had a pt. who had problems in labor. despite documenting her inteventions and the interventions of the experienced ob nurses she was still held accountable when the baby was born w/ problems. the court said she was being held just as accountable as an experienced ob nurse.
    go figure.
  6. by   redshiloh
    When a person ends up with a spinal cord injury as a result of medical malpractice the cost of care can run 5-6K a month. 250K is not going to go far in those situations. SCI patients end up on the street.
  7. by   fergus51
    I am all for a cap on pain and suffering. I am sick of how we see dollar signs with every tragedy. Obvisoulsy the awards can be larger for patients medical needs after malpractice causes them disability.
  8. by   Zee_RN
    redshiloh, the $250,000 cap is NOT a cap on the cost of care but on the pain-and-suffering award. The cost of care would be covered, as previously stated.
  9. by   mark_LD_RN
    it is definitely a good idea
  10. by   JBudd
    [/QUOTE]That said, I agre about the nuisance suits--we all remember that woman at McDonald's and the hot coffee. How about a little responsibility on the part of the consumer (realize I am ranting about other liabilities, not malpractice, but the principles are the same). If Mr. so and so is noncompliant and education and refusal to comply is documented--he has no case. If mrs. xyz is told she needs a cardiac cath d/t abc reasons and she refuses...document and move on. She shouldn't be able to get to court w/ a case. Perhaps a combo of ins. reform and tort reform is needed. [/B][/QUOTE]

    I totally agree about nuisance suits, but just thought I'd throw in about the lady at McDonalds: it required multiple skin grafts to put her thighs back together. Coffee should not be hot enough to scald multiple layers of skin off!

    I think there should be caps where there is no permanent physical damage.
  11. by   Rapheal
    I think that all states need a cap on these claims. The reason I spend so much time documenting every little tiny thing- is because of my instituations need to have a legal record for these types of claims. It has gotten out of hand. There is way too much time devoted to charting for protection that I wish I could use to provide better, more detailed care for my patients.
  12. by   Agnus
    One arguement that I saw reguarding this was the case where the girl received the wrong heart and lungs due to an error in the blood type. The arguement was that a cap would hurt a family like this.

    The bottom line is no amount of $$ will ever bring back this girl's life. To sue for a large sum in this case is blood money nothing else.
    No malice was intended; all protochols were followed; The problems was in the system. Adequate checks were obviously not part of the protochols. Even this was not intentional and was human error. There is no way anyone can legitamentely acuse any member of the transplant team, the procurement people or anyone else of mal intent. Come on thier whole purpose is to perserve life.

    An attorney argued to me that we are trying to take power from juries and put limits on thier decisions. We are in effect saying they are stupid. Well Mr. Attorney we do not give unlimited power to juries in criminal cases. We put restraints and very specific instrutions on them when deciding a crimininal case. There are maximum penalties that a jury can put on a criminal surely there should be a maximum when a wrong is committed without any criminal or malicious intent and where no crime has even been found to exist only a human error.
    He said that we think juries are not smart enough and that is why we want to put these restraints. If juries are so smart why do they have to be restrained in convicting or sentensing a criminal?
    I complimented on his wisdom in not presenting both sides of the arguement as he would have surly argued more effectively against his own position.
    He stated that medical people would have no incentive to practice safely and ethically if there were not the threat of large suits. Everyone on this board should be insulted by such a low remark. Apparently he thinks lawyers are the only ethical moral professionals out there. The rest of us must be watched very closely and have a huge stick constantly held over our heads. We obviously do not nurse nor physicians practice medicine with any degree of honnor. We would kill and mame at the first opportunity.
    Last edit by Agnus on Apr 17, '03
  13. by   tiger
    The legislation -- which Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn signed into law Aug. 7 -- calls for many of the reforms that the American Medical Association has said are needed to help change states' medical liability climates. It places a $350,000 cap on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases, creates a shorter statute of limitations and establishes a standard that holds physicians liable only for the damages for which they are responsible.

    The law also puts a $50,000 limit on damages for hospitals and physicians who treat trauma patients, creates a medical error reporting system, requires more training for judges handling medical malpractice cases and holds lawyers responsible for costs of frivolous lawsuits.

    "We have addressed the issues that brought the crisis," said Lawrence P. Matheis, the Nevada State Medical Assn. executive director. "It takes away the unpredictability of awards."

    Nevada is one of 12 states the AMA has identified as being in the middle of a medical liability insurance crisis. Another 30 states and the District of Columbia are seeing signs of trouble, the AMA says.

    i agree with the caps. it had gotten so bad here in nv that doctors were quitting left and right. the trauma center at my hospital closed for awhile due to this. expectant mothers could not find an obsetrician, they were all leaving. they are held responsible until the child turns 18. tort reform is needed.