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As we enter the second month of President Trump’s administration, we await the changes that will be made to the Affordable Care Act, and whether or not the president stays true to his campaign promises to gut the program. One area that is of concern when it comes to the tort reform promised is the future of medical malpractice claim processing.

Medical malpractice is not specifically addressed in the Affordable Care Act, so it has been speculated that the Trump Administration will not make it a priority as Obamacare undergoes transformation. But, the newly confirmed Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, has long held the opinion that there is a medical malpractice crisis in the country, and that something must be done about.

Price contends that the problem is frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits that drive up malpractice insurance premiums for physicians, forcing many of them to abandon their practices. Out of the fear of potential lawsuits, remaining doctors order excessive diagnostic tests and treatments, making the cost of healthcare unaffordable for many Americans.

The replacement bill that Price advocates would create state administrative tribunals for medical malpractice cases rather than jury trials. Price, the first doctor to be named Secretary of Health and Human Services since Dr. Louis W. Sullivan left the position in January 1993, also promotes placing caps on medical malpractice damages along with compliance with clinical practice guidelines being used as a defense in malpractice claims. This would result in doctors having an easier time defending themselves in malpractice cases, as increased responsibility would fall on plaintiffs to prove negligence.

As per Joe Osborne, a Boca Raton medical malpractice lawyer stated “Public safety is at stake. Medical malpractice reform, which eliminates or significantly reduces a victim’s ability to bring a case is equivalent to a medical system of chaos. There will no checks and balances and patients and loved ones will suffer greatly.”

Despite Price’s claims that there is, in fact, a crisis with medical malpractice lawsuits, researchers and industry experts disagree. They contend that the country’s medical malpractice insurance industry is not in crisis that it has been operating effectively for the last decade. They cite the fact that doctors are paying less for medical malpractice insurance premiums than they did in 2001 and that current conditions are making it easier than ever for doctors to acquire insurance, as proof that Price’s allegations are not accurate.

It remains to be seen what exactly will happen with regard to medical malpractice and tort reform in this new Trump administration. While Price has long supported lawsuit abuse reform, medical malpractice reform is not specifically being reported as high on his list of priorities in his new appointment. Abortion legislation, Planned-Parenthood funding, and changes to Medicare and Medicaid payments top the list of reported areas of change – and disruption to the current Affordable Care Act – that will likely take precedence over any changes in the medical malpractice arena.

That doesn’t mean that there won’t be specific and significant changes proposed to medical malpractice law in the future, but it seems that it will be done separately from the impending repeal of Obamacare promised by the Trump administration. It will be an interesting battle to keep an eye on in the coming months.

 

About The Author

US Marine Veteran, College Student, Classical Liberal

  • TodayIsAGift

    Last month my 3 year old child was rushed to ER with obvious meningitis- textbook symptoms. They misdiagnosed him accidentally because the Dr didn’t know that you could have meningitis and normal white blood count. Honest mistake, I make mistakes, we’re human, but instead of correcting the mistake after he was admitted for a “atypical non-blanching rash” and “lethargy.” The hospital decided to hide their mistake and think I wasn’t going to notice the horrible neurological damage and seizures that started. “don’t worry, little kids get high fevers and neurological changes are just part of it.” I said a thousand times over and over and over, “I have 5 small children, I know what fevers are, I know what dehydration is, I’ve seen everything…I have never given my children antibiotics…I KNOW my children and something is terribly wrong with his brain… I CAN SEE IT IN HIS EYES… I NEED NEUROLOGY!!” They illegally told me I couldn’t go to another hospital on day 5 after he nearly died from a nurse deciding to tell my Dr that we didnt want him on an IV anymore and she left him unconscious and unhooked for an entire day. This is close to the time he started having c-diff symptoms. One old Dr demanded a stool test the next day when he started the c-diff symptoms. It of course came back positive. They told me he couldn’t leave and I believed them. The nurses would check on him twice a day only, always and only in evening, they never responded to nurse call button..they never ever responded except for the night shift. During one particularly bad seizure my Mom called nurse station 3 times, and then I had to scream at her- “they don’t come for us!” She ran out in hall screaming!!! It still took the nurses about 4 minutes to come. We held him down, my Mom rocked and cried that whole night saying “He’s gone. He’s gone.” I cried and begged for 10 straight days for “JUST ONE blood test, just a little CBC or something? one scan, ANYTHING!” On day 9 a doctor heard about my story and called my cell phone, “Get him out of that hospital NOW, get to Boston NOW! They are keeping him there and not running tests because they know any other hospital would immediately run tests and scans and it would be legal proof of the diagnosis mistake. RUN.” We went to the top dogs, demanded to know why they lied and told us that he wasn’t allow to leave, I told them a Dr just told me what all the laws are and said that you have broken so many laws that they lost count at 24, the Dr said it was the most disturbing story they have ever heard in their entire career, that I need to contact the state immediately. The Doctor told me that this needs to be reported immediately to the state and that this constitutes child abuse in the Doctors mind. The Hospital table of heads went silent, next sentence “what do you want? pause… we will transfer you immediately, we will call right now.” We packed up, and waited…. and of course no one came, and that night I left the hospital and my husband stayed, I said we were leaving that day no matter what. They said ok, said we could go around 2:30- just waiting for discharge. I called patient care advocate, (its actually a trick to see if you have a malpractice case- never call a patient care advocate..it’s useless.) The advocate heard my story and at one point, suddenly said he urgently had to go, and that was the moment I realized that I wasn’t talking to an advocate, and he was scarred) Suddenly discharge was at 5PM- closing time for medical records. They spent an entire night doctoring his records, AND I HAVE PHOTOS OF some OF THE “BEFORE” documents. I brought our brain damaged child who could barely walk (on toes only.) We brought our poor child home, and it took us a week to build up the courage to bring him to another hospital. I have a 6 inch “medical record” and every word is fabricated- every single word. 6 inches thick- 10 days in a hospital- and it says that he had no neuro problems, was eating, running around, no fevers, and it has ONE blood test. The other hospital said “where are the rest of the tests?” I said there were none. You were in there for 10 days?? Yes. The records are 6 inches thick and say that I refused pain relief, starved him, a million and one lies. AND I HAVE 1000 photos, videos, and recordings that prove every single lie- we documented every single thing that happened including the thermometers, the meetings, the board where I wrote questions, I documented everything. I cried at the second hospital, cried with happiness that finally he would get treatment, this is what a real hospital is like. My son hugged every single nurse, dr, anyone who came in his room, “Hugss?” He was so traumatized and as happy as I was to be treated by kind, normal medical professionals.

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