A bill in North Carolina (NC) that may become law plans to bar patients from recovering damages after being injured in emergency rooms. Under the controversial measure, patients would not be allowed to collect compensation, even if they were permanently harmed or disfigured by ER professionals when given medical treatment.
Introduced by Senator Tom Apodaca, a Republican from Hendersonville, Bill # 33 would remove "liability of any medical provider that gives emergency medical services in North Carolina," according to the most recent version. Such providers include hospital emergency rooms, EMS workers, and first responders.
Other parts of the bill seek to reduce damages from other medical malpractice suits to $500,000 or less. If passed, the bill would be one of the strongest in terms of limiting patients' rights to file medical malpractice lawsuits.
A group called the NC Advocates for Justice Foundation states on its website JuriesDecide.com that the bill "addresses the needs of insurance providers; not patients." Other opponents also object to the bill on legal grounds. Former NC Supreme Court Justice I. Beverly Lake, Jr. states "The cap on economic damages is unnecessary as well as unconstitutional."
We are saddened to hear of this ill-advised bill, and hope that it does not become law.
Victims of North Carolina medical malpractice have to go through enough as it is to prove negligence on the part of providers. Limiting their ability to do that, as well as lowering the cap for damages, seems like adding insult to very serious injuries.