RALEIGH, N.C., March 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A new multi-media campaign launched by the NC Advocates for Justice takes on the supporters of a recent bill to legalize negligence in hospital emergency rooms.
Supporters of controversial Senate Bill 33 include Sens Tom Apodaca, Andrew Brock, Harry Brown, Pete Brunstetter, Jim Davis, Rick Gunn, Brent Jackson, Ralph Hise, Wesley Meredith, Louis Pate, Bill Rabon, Bob Rucho, Dan Soucek, Richard Stevens and others.
SB 33 provides immunity for negligence in the ER. Instead of the current legal duty to follow their own professional standards, a hospital or doctor would only be liable if the injured patient proves "gross negligence," which the law defines as "intentional wrongdoing or deliberate misconduct affecting the safety of others." No patient will be able to meet that high standard, unless the patient can prove that the ER doctor acted with malice or was impaired by alcohol or drugs.
The bill also sets an arbitrary cap on medical malpractice damages for disfigurement, mutilation, loss of limb, paralysis, pain, suffering and death. The one-size-fits-all cap on damages would be especially devastating for injured children, homemakers, and the elderly, who have limited economic damages.
The Charlotte Observer, in a recent voice-of-the-paper editorial, stated: "This is not the right approach … rather, it will limit the ability of the citizens of North Carolina to seek damages for pain and suffering, including mistakes and botched care in emergency rooms that have killed many and maimed others." Two retired NC Supreme Court Justices, both conservative Republicans, have advised legislators that the proposed cap is "unconstitutional and unnecessary."
Despite this widespread opposition, SB 33 recently passed a hurried Senate vote. The NC House of Representatives is expected to take up many of its extreme measures soon.
The NC Advocates for Justice recently released the results of a statewide poll of 600 registered voters by Hart Research Associates, a nationally respected polling firm, showing 70 to 77 percent of voters oppose immunity for doctors and hospitals in the ER.
There is also a proposal in the state legislature to give doctors who provide emergency services complete immunity when they make a medical mistake that injures a patient. This means ER doctors and some other doctors could not be sued for malpractice in emergency cases. Do you favor or oppose this proposal?
- Total Favor - 30%
- Total Oppose - 70%
There is also a proposal in the state legislature to give hospitals that provide emergency services complete immunity when they make a medical mistake that injures a patient. This means the hospital could not be sued for malpractice in emergency cases. Do you favor or oppose this proposal?
- Total Favor - 23%
- Total Oppose - 77%
A recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that 4,000 patients die and 5,700 patients are permanently injured in North Carolina hospitals every year because of preventable medical mistakes.
SOURCE NC Advocates for Justice