Thursday, June 22, 2006

"Health Courts" Unhealthy for Malpractice Victims

The U.S. Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will be holding a hearing today to examine several medical malpractice issues. One of the concepts to be examined will be the idea of replacing judges and juries with a so-called "health court."

Several consumer groups have expressed their opposition to this change stating that it would take away a victim's right to a jury trial. In a press release, the group tells us what malpractice victims will face if this idea is realized:
"a vaguely defined administrative bureaucracy run by political appointees charged with developing uniform schedules of compensation for specific medical injuries." Experience with similar systems "strongly suggests that they will provide worse protection for patients than the civil justice system currently provides"

Perhaps the largest concern is for the most severely injured victim's of malpractice. Trying to fit their suffering and complicated injuries into some bureaucratic box is a fool's errand. Also the unsettling thought that such a political body could be forcefully lobbied by big insurance companies and others from the health industry give us yet another reason to dismiss such ideas.


Super Id said...

"Health courts" are a scary thought. However, juries have been poisioned and are relucatant to award damages in Med Mal cases. Last year in Waukesha County (where the MCOW is located )only two cases were successful at trial.

Thus, maybe Health Courts should get a second look.

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