Senate weighs bill proposing to shield emergency-room personnel from malpractice suits – Florida – MiamiHerald.com

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.

via Senate weighs bill proposing to shield emergency-room personnel from malpractice suits – Florida – MiamiHerald.com.

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….


Comments

  1. If we lived in a world where politicians could be trusted to be “agents of the state”; not agents of the lobbyists with deepest pockets life would be much easier.

  2. Reckless is a legal term of art — referring to a reckless mistake doesn’t mean that all mistakes are reckless; it’s referring to a mistake that shows a deliberate indifference to the risks or possible harm.

    Making a reasonable choice of treatment that turns out to be wrong isn’t reckless. Nor is a mere mistake due to negligence — e.g., you forgot to check some aspect of the patient history before treatment, and something bad happened because of it. Recklessness is much worse, and should have consequences.

  3. “Florida is a MedMal crisis state. ”

    What does this mean? That some lobbyist said we have a “crisis”? How spooky.

    Go ahead, become “agents of the state”. And then try and argue healthcare isn’t a “right”. Tell the public you want all the government protection, but you don’t owe them anything for it.

    Good luck with all that. You physicians are trading the last vestiges of a once proud independent profession so your insurers can save a few bucks. You’ll be nothing more than a high paid cog in the wheel of the federal government. But hey, you’ll get to unionize, I guess.

    Do you really think the GOP is out to help you? Really? Who do you think their real constituency is here?

  4. “e.g., you forgot to check some aspect of the patient history before treatment, and something bad happened because of it. Recklessness is much worse, and should have consequences.”

    And I would say you forgetting to check the patient history and something bad happening should have consequences as well. But we Matts can disagree on this sort of thing.

  5. Wow. Somebody had too much coffee.

  6. 11:08 and 11:10 is different from 9:31.

    As to the latter two, that’s me, and I’m just high on life, man.

  7. First Matt agrees with other Matt — negligence usually should have consequences, but for ordinary negligence (in any field), I think the appropriate consequence is usually remedial. I don’t know anyone who never makes a mistake; it’s just one of those things.

    Recklessness, on the other hand, I think requires something punitive (additionally) to correct the behavior.

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