Senate weighs bill proposing to shield emergency-room personnel from malpractice suits
A GOP-sponsored bill would make all emergency room medical providers — even at private hospitals — ‘agents of the state’ thus giving them sovereign immunity in medical malpractice lawsuits.
BY JOHN FRANK
Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau
TALLAHASSEE — Even as the GOP assails President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul as a “government takeover”, top Florida Republicans are pushing a measure that opponents say would do the same for the state’s emergency rooms.
State Sen. John Thrasher, the Florida Republican Party chairman, is pushing legislation to make all emergency room healthcare providers — nurses, doctors and even paramedics — “agents of the state” and consequently immune from medical malpractice lawsuits.
Florida is a MedMal crisis state. It’s not a big surprise different ideas are being floated to help those on the front lines. I’m not a big proponent of Sovereign Immunity (or the Federal Tort Claims Act), as yes, a provider cannot be sued directly but there’s no free lunch; the Government that gives you immunity can then restrict your practice at their discretion.
Again: No Free Lunch.
And then, a weird bit of editorializing spin in a non-editorial:
So if a doctor at a private hospital makes a reckless mistake, the state would pay the claim, subject to the current sovereign immunity cap of $200,000. To recover more, victims would need to file a claims bill in the Legislature, a process that can take years.
So, if a doc at a public hospital makes a “Reckless mistake” that’d be okay for the government of Florida to cover?
Reckless mistake? What the heck? They didn’t say “Ambulance Chasing Attorney” to balance that out, even….