North Carolina State Senator Bob Rucho of Mecklenburg County recently introduced Senate Bill 33 which seeks to limit the amount of money that can be awarded for pain and suffering to victims of medical malpractice to a mere $250,000, and make emergency medical providers, such as the emergency department in a hospital, immune from liability unless found guilty of “gross negligence, wanton conduct, or intentional wrongdoing.” Under the present law, the medical malpractice victim must show that the medical provider did not meet the standard of care among medical providers with similar training and experience.
This bill comes on the heels of a recent study which found that a person has a 20% chance of being harmed by medical care in a North Carolina hospital. The study, which was conducted by Harvard Medical School and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, was reported in the New England Journal of Medicine on November 25, 2010. In addition to reporting a significant risk of becoming injured as the result of medical care, it also found that almost 14% of the injuries resulted in life-threatening injury or death. Most significant, however, was the finding that over 63% of the injuries caused by medical care were preventable.
What does this mean to the North Carolina hospital patient? It means that if you or a family member becomes one of the more than 4,000 deaths are preventable each year, or suffers one of the 6,000 preventable permanent injuries, your North Carolina lawmakers want to prevent you from recovering anything, if the medical malpractice was committed by an emergency medical provider, or limit your recovery to $250,000 if malpractice was committed in a non-emergent situation.
What can you do about it? The injury attorneys at Auger & Auger, and urge you to contact your North Carolina State Senator as well as your Representative, and tell them to vote “NO” on Senate Bill 33.
Scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your zip+4 zipcode. This will bring up links to your North Carolina State Senator, Representative, and our Congresswoman. From there, you can email, call or write your elected officials and tell them to vote “NO” on Senate Bill 33.