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January 11, 2005

Georgia emergency medicine

Medical liability reform has built up a big head of steam in Georgia, a state in which Republicans have just succeeded in organizing the legislature with the aid of conservative Democrats. Rep. Thomas Bordeaux (D-Savannah), a plaintiff's lawyer who has stoutly defended trial lawyer interests, will no longer chair the House Judiciary Committee; the new speaker will be Rep. Glenn Richardson (R-Dallas), who as it happens has also filed med-mal suits in his legal practice but says he supports tort reform.

Aside from the inevitable caps on non-economic damages generally, the Atlanta paper reports,

The proposed law also would prevent a malpractice victim from collecting any jury award for pain and suffering for a doctor's negligence committed during the first 24 hours of a visit to an emergency room.
Over at Cut to Cure, Bard Parker reacts favorably to this provision:
I like this a great deal. Many patients in this situation fall under EMTALA, perhaps the most expensive unfunded federal mandate in existence. Physicians are forced to provide care in stressful situations to patients that may or may not have coverage, and in the case of trauma patients, are likely to sue someone anyway. The risk/reward calculation in this situation has forced many subspecialists to withdraw from emergency room coverage.

Posted by Walter Olson at 12:28 AM | TrackBack (0)

Medicine and Law



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