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Mark Bello
Mark Bello
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Naples Medical Malpractice Case: A Point Against Liability Reform?

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An ongoing, hotly contested, medical malpractice trial, in Naples, Florida underscores a point we have been making to the right wing tort reformers. At issue in the case is whether three Naples physicians, an internist, a neurologist, and a radiologist, failed to timely diagnose and properly treat a bacterial abscess on Sheila Matthews’ spine.

Again, this is an ongoing trial; Lawsuit Financial will not comment on the facts of the case or allegations emanating from both sides of the case. Hopefully, the jury will receive a full airing of the facts, receive instructions that will help them understand the law as it applies to the facts, and render a fair decision. Our purpose for writing is to point out another issue that graphically demonstrates the absurdity of tort reform. Here is a quote from the article in Naplesnews.com:

Matthews has Medicare and was a licensed practical nurse in Naples who hadn’t worked since 1992 due to a work injury that caused leg pain, reflex problems and numbness.

If she wins a large award, she will temporarily lose Medicare and have to pay the full price of medical bills until the money runs out and she again becomes eligible (emphasis added).

Most conservative Republicans support some type of liability reform. These same people also rail against entitlements and "handouts". Most oppose health care reform; most opposed the Medicare program when it was proposed by Democratic leadership in the 60’s; most support liability reform. As applied to this case, liability reform would mean that the taxpayers, in the form of Medicare, would be liable for payment of all of Sheila Matthews’ medical bills. If the doctors are proven to be negligent in this case (a big "if"), then private insurance and the doctors responsible for her current condition would be responsible for her medical care, at least to the extent of the jury’s monetary award.

Conservatives are always asking for measures that "get the government off our backs". But with liability reform, they are really asking the taxpayers to foot the bill for something that private liability insurance and negligent doctors should be paying for. Disingenuous, isn’t it? How much, in campaign contributions, do you think these conservative politicians have received from liability insurance companies?

So, conservatives, now you know the truth; taxpayers foot the bill instead of private insurance companies when liability reform limits jury verdicts. This is your basic pocketbook issue; whose pocketbook do you think should pay for Sheila’s care if the doctors are found negligent? Where do you stand?

2 Comments

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  1. Mike Bryant says:
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    Very good point. May Justice be served in the trial.

  2. Jim O'Hare says:
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    Should the plaintiff prevail, the award should respond to any liens for treatment related to the alleged injury, from the suggested med mal. I am not sure how you are connecting a limit/ cap on pain and suffering, connecting this to healthcare related tort reform, that may shift a burden to the taxpayers from the insurance companies.

    A few simple federal reforms should be considered- How about loser pays costs, get rid of joint and several liability,thereby shifting the responsibilty to the tortfeasor and not just the guy with the coverage. Minimum requirements to be a juror, expert affidavits presuit. How about all practicing Dr’s need minimum PL coverage to practice, just like I need auto insurance to drive.

    Healthcare reform is needed to get these crooked healthcare companies straight. The CEO of UHC was a former Arthur Anderson mainstay, remember them? – Enron , Sunbeam etc. This COE has made over 750mil in 10 yrs, was given backdated stock options, quietly bought the 2 independant providers of ” customary rates for procedures ” companies. Then quotes those companies as independant and validation when they screw reimbursement for Docs and patients. This is a collosal license to steal and Dont get me started on Humana and Aetna. Just look at the fines that they have paid over the years, that could fund the entire bill for healthcare for all. We arent in need of tweaking an honorable system, we need to decriminalize a corrupt business model based on collusion and a license to steal. Is med mal related? – marginally. Without argument the USA has the least bang for the medical buck in the world. That bad smell is the current system. regards Jim