The bill working its way through Congress that would cap medical malpractice jury awards is a bad idea, according to a national public interest lawyer.
In an Op-Ed piece in the Washington political newspaper The Hill, Executive Director of Public Justice Paul Bland writes that H.R. 1215, the “Protecting Access to Care Act” has a misleading title because the legislation would provide less — not more — protection to patients. Indeed, Bland powerfully illustrates his point with a recent case of malpractice.
He discusses a patient from Pennsylvania named Kathleen Astleford. Her primary care doctor had referred her to a specialist to look at a problem with her tonsils. Consequently, a doctor at Delta Medix in Scranton evaluated her throat. After a biopsy, he diagnosed her with cancer involving her right tonsil. The doctor recommended a course of radiation. Astleford underwent 26 radiation treatments. She asked why she had sores on the left side of her mouth. She wondered why the left side of her neck was red. Initially, the doctor told her that everything was fine. But two weeks later, he told her the truth. He had, in fact, been applying radiation treatments to the wrong side of her throat.
The doctor recommended that Astleford undergo 17 additional radiation treatments on the right side of her throat. When she sought a second opinion, other doctors said that the additional treatments would be too dangerous. Under the proposed new medical malpractice jury award law that passed the House and is pending in the Senate, the maximum amount that Astleford could collect for her pain and suffering would be $250,000.
That, says Bland, clearly is not enough. “Astleford underwent an exceptionally invasive surgery that required removing part of her tongue and leaving her unable to swallow properly.”
Florida medical malpractice lawyers Marinez Manglardi have been fighting for injured victims since 1988. Call 407-846-2240 with questions if you’ve been a victim of medical negligence in Orlando, Orange County, Kissimmee, Osceola County, Apopka, Polk County, Seminole County, Palm Bay, Brevard County, Ocala or anywhere in Florida.