SB 4 – Medical Review Panels – This is a complicated bill that will limit your legal medical rights. Put forth as tort reform to prevent frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits, it falls short of actually accomplishing anything but making it harder for patients to obtain full restitution when they have been wronged by the medical industry and in fact may make it more difficult for those that were actually harmed.
Here is what SB 4 does:
· Sets up a medical review panels made up of doctors (3)before a case can go to court, unless both the doctor and patient waive the panel (no doctor will do this as it benefits the doctor to have the medical review panel)
· The panelist have 6 months to make a finding and each doctor gets paid $350 per case (this will undoubtedly result in flawed findings for obvious reasons).
· The findings of the panel are admissible in court as expert testimony (this is problematic as it removes the principle that expert testimony is supposed to be blind)
Here is what SB 4 does not do:
· Does not actually limit frivolous lawsuits because the chances of either side accepting the findings of the panel is slim. It will only put one side (most likely the patient) at a disadvantage when they go to court.
· Does not improve quality of care for patients, but it will reduce payouts for medical malpractice lawsuits as it has in other states that have medical review panels. Making this about how much doctors have to pay in lawsuits and medical malpractice insurance premiums, not about limiting the lawsuit in the first place by improving the quality of care.
· Does not save time and money (for the patients, just the doctors as it can limit legitimate claims). Ultimately though, when has adding a layer to anything saved money and time.
· Doesn’t address any of the issues with the Insurance Industry that may be driving up medical costs and lawsuits.
Can one imagine the PR nightmare the government, legal, and medical community will have on their hands if they have to explain to a patient who has been severely wronged by a doctor, sorry you have to go through this extra layer (hoop) in order to receive full restoration?
The Constitutional Violation:
Here is an example of why those who love liberty should be against SB 4. When someone commits a crime with a gun, we resist adding regulations because a select few abuse their 2nd Amendment Rights. The same logic should apply here, just because a few file frivolous lawsuits doesn’t mean that we all should have to jump through extra hoops to have our day in court as the 7th Amendment outlines.
The idea of frivolous is not always clear, which is why we have a legal system to determine these things in the first place. (It’s not even as clear as when a racist in South Carolina shoots up Black Church.) We don’t advocate adding more gun regulations in that instance, but for some reason we do for something less. Freedom isn’t without risk, and that’s the cost of living in a Free Society.
These medical review panels will one day become the only step not the first step. It will open the door for a more draconian legal system that sounds something more like the Death Panels Obama envisioned. This will only add more cronyism not less. The medical profession is full of noble people, but let’s not pretend men are angels.