Many Americans don't vote because they believe their vote doesn't count. Their vote does count and could make a difference in better medical care. Proposition 46 is on the ballot in California (CA) and it calls for greater patient safety protections.
Proposition 46 creates greater accountability for medical negligence by indexing a 38-year-old cap on damages for inflation and detecting and deterring physicians’ over-prescribing and substance abuse. The initiative would raise the existing cap on damages to $1.1 million, giving children and seniors who cannot demonstrate lost wages as a result of their injuries a chance to hold doctors and hospitals accountable for their mistakes.
Opponents such as big insurance companies and groups they pay to lobby lawmakers say the passage of Prop. 46 could raise healthcare costs and invite increased litigation. They contend that the initiative was written and funded by trial lawyers seeking to make millions from more lawsuits.
As experienced North Carolina (NC) medical malpractice lawyers we know this is just not the case. Studies by independent groups have proven time and time again that holding negligent doctors, nurses and hospitals accountable does not raise the cost of health care but instead encourages greater safety for patients.
A recent study, conducted by John T. James, PhD in association with Patient Safety America, concluded that there are at least 210,000 deaths per year from preventable harm in hospitals, with the real number probably being closer to 400,000. This is well above the 1999 IOM estimate of 98,000. More stunning is the author’s conclusion that “serious harm” is 10-20 times more likely than lethal harm. The results are clear: in 30 years, it has become more dangerous, not less, to be treated as a patient at a hospital. In 2011 the state of North Carolina (NC) passed vigorous reforms which include a $500,000 cap on non-economic damages and an enhanced burden of proof for EMTALA providers. North Carolina’s per capita malpractice payout ($4.55 malpractice dollars per person) is now the seventh lowest in the nation.