A book entitled “Blocking the Courthouse Door” puts a number of political issues in America today into perspective. The opening chapter explains the ideocracy of current attempts at limiting medical liability. Although the opening case takes place in Indiana instead of Texas, the sort of injustices are likely in our great state.
The author speaks of a man, Frank Cornelius, who worked as a lobbyist for the Insurance Institute of Indiana. His most beloved legislation was the limitation of money-injured patients could get from malpractice lawsuits to $500,000 (very similar to the limited liability costs in Texas). Ironically, a few years later, Cornelius underwent knee surgery to alleviate pain he had been experiencing in that particular joint. The surgery actually caused another medical disorder resulting in intense pain and suffering. Basically, over the next 20 years, the surgeries Cornelius encountered as a result of the work of the first doctor totaled more than 5 million. As a result of the legislation he helped to pass, his family was in immense debt even after his death.
This is precisely the reason that limited medical liability in Texas is absurd. The fact that any person can go in for a single procedure (in many case one that is intended to be minor) and come out worse off than they were to begin with is horrifying. What is even scarier is that the doctor and their insurance company would be only minimally liable for their debilitating and life-altering mistake.
Many sources claim that prior to the passing of legislation regarding liability laws in the medical field, there was a significant increase in the quantity of ‘frivolous’ lawsuits that resulted in insurance companies paying out extremely high amounts to cover the costs of faulty surgeries and loss of quality of life. If you think about it though, there were juries in every case that award plaintiffs such amounts of money. These juries spent days or even weeks in a court room hearing from witnesses and seeing evidence from both sides. In the end, they recognized the wrong doing of the physician and the pain and suffering of the patient. Then the current quality of that person’s life. Whether the amount of money being high or low, this is in no way frivolous. I cannot understand the idea that any jury would award a patient high quantities of money without the request being justified.
The reason I chose this topic was that I had to undergo some minor surgery on Friday. As I went in for surgery that morning, this piece of legislation was all I could think about: Limited Medical Liability. What if the doctor messes up- I don’t even know this guy so what would it matter to him!? Even if he does screw up, it is not like he has to pay for anything! His massive oligopy of an insurance company would pay for the little amount that I would get back in the event of malpractice. So should I just endure the pain I was already in to avoid the opportunity of malpractice?
All of these questions should not have to be asked by someone going to the hospital or to a specialist. Instead, you should be able to comfortably put your life in the hands of a doctor and say: fix me, I trust you. In the horrible event that they accidentally hurt you, you should be reimbursed for the life you could have had and the experiences you will know miss out on. Not to mention, you should most definitely be reimbursed for the cost of medical treatment to fix the problem.