As discussed in the previous post, tort reform that aims to make it harder to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in order to cut down on frivolous lawsuits and, thus, keep medical malpractice insurance rates low may actually have the unintended consequence of dismissing legitimate medical malpractice lawsuits. These legitimate lawsuits that are dismissed will not get their day in court; people who have been injured may not receive justice and the doctors who hurt them may remain unpunished.
The previous post began to discuss the story of a woman who appears to have had a legitimate medical malpractice case regarding the death of her infant, but the case was dismissed because of a tort reform law in her state. The AP notes that the mother’s case definitely appears to have merit because it is possible that the care of her doctors led to the early death of her baby.
The doctors refused to turn over the woman’s care to pre-consulted experts like they had agreed to do even though she was experiencing complications with her pregnancy, including a fever and back pain. They also allegedly hid the experts’ care plan from the woman. Her baby almost died at birth from an E. coli infection. He survived that infection, but died after 51 days from a blood infection.
The woman’s case was dismissed because she did not have an expert write an opinion letter for her lawsuit because she sued for breach of contract and emotional distress and didn’t know she needed one. Now she feels that having her injury case dismissed and used as an example for dismissing other medical malpractice cases makes a mockery of her son’s life, suffering and death.
Source: Seattle PI, “Conn. law nixing legitimate malpractice lawsuits,” Dave Collins, Associated Press, Jan. 8, 2012