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American Association for Justice
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Tort Law Changes Hurt Real Patients

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— crossposted from The Huffington Post

As the House passed a sweeping health care overhaul this weekend, opponents of true reform pulled out all the stops. Saturday evening, the civil justice system and injured patients were brutally attacked, but ultimately, facts prevailed over the countless lies and distortions that were on display.

Throughout the entire debate, those wanting to kill health care decided that disparaging trial attorneys was the avenue to derail the bill. These same people seem to have forgotten that this bill is about patients, not trial attorneys or bargaining away people’s legal rights. But of course, health care reform opponents were intent on creating distractions and sideshows.

The facts have been clear for quite some time: tort law changes will do practically nothing to lower costs or cover the uninsured. It will only limit the rights of patients injured through no fault of their own. Since health care reform opponents refused to discuss what "tort reform" means for patients, we will.

Blake Fought, 19, was about to be released from the hospital after recovering from an illness that required a central line IV. Unfortunately, the nurse had never been trained to remove the IV and did not follow proper procedures, causing bubbles to enter Blake’s brain, heart and blood vessels. He died in front of the nurses and his own parents – who were at the hospital to take their son home.

Blake is one of an estimated 98,000 patients who die each year from preventable medical errors, while countless more are seriously injured. Today, the American Association for Justice released videos of Blake and others on www.98000reasons.org as part of a series of video tributes to the lives behind medical negligence.

It is imperative that lawmakers understand that tort law changes will not fix America’s broken health care system, and only hurts families like the Foughts from getting justice. Health care reform must improve patient safety, not limit people’s legal rights. With 98,000 unnecessary deaths every year, there’s just too much at stake.

Watch Blake’s story below, and visit www.98000reasons.org to hear more stories and tell Congress that tort law changes won’t fix health care.