When Should Emergency Room Doctors Be Exempt From Personal Responsibility?

Never. But if House Bill 0174 passes in the Tennessee General Assembly this session, they will.

The Public News Service has more – “Change in Terms Could Mean Less Malpractice Protection in TN:”

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It’s a simple change in terms that some say could have dire consequences for victims of medical malpractice. A bill recently filed in the Tennessee state legislature and supported by emergency room doctors would change the legal definitions of “negligence” and “gross negligence” to protect doctors and hospitals from what they call expensive, unfounded lawsuits.

But Nashville attorney Mark Chalos says the changes could leave patients with fewer protections.

“This bill would say it is okay for doctors to act negligently, to fall below the standard of care, so long as what they did isn’t really far below the standard of care.”

Chalos says that, nationwide, almost 100,000 people die each year because of medical negligence, and somebody has to pay for those mistakes.

“The legislature has a choice: whether to protect Tennesseans from bad doctors or to protect bad doctors from being held accountable for their actions.”

Supporters of the changes say they would cut malpractice insurance costs for doctors and hospitals.

The Tennessee legislature is moving rapidly away from looking after the needs of Tennesseans.

This type of legislation does not affect “frivolous lawsuits,” it affects serious lawsuits filed by those who suffer serious injury.

Researchers at the Harvard University School of Public Health have found that most medical negligence claims are meritorious, with 97% of claims involving medical injury. In addition, only 1 in 8 negligently injured patients file a malpractice claim.

As one University of PA law professor put it, “We have an epidemic of medical malpractice, not of malpractice lawsuits.


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