Earlier this week, the Michigan Senate debated a medical malpractice reform proposal that would make it more difficult for the innocent victims of medical malpractice to recover damages from those who commit medical malpractice in Michigan. Senate Bill No. 1116 provides that a health care professional or health facility would not be liable if it acted with reasonable and good-faith belief that the conduct was well founded in medicine and in the best interest of the patient.
Senate Bill No. 1116 states, in part, as follows:
(3) A PERSON DESCRIBED IN SECTION 5838A(1) IS NOT LIABLE IN AN ACTION ALLEGING MEDICAL MALPRACTICE IF THE PERSON’S CONDUCT AT ISSUE CONSTITUTED THE EXERCISE OF PROFESSIONAL JUDGMENT. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SUBSECTION, A PERSON EXERCISES PROFESSIONAL JUDGMENT IF THE PERSON ACTS WITH A REASONABLE AND GOOD-FAITH BELIEF THAT THE PERSON’S CONDUCT IS BOTH WELL FOUNDED IN MEDICINE AND IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE PATIENT. IN AN ACTION DESCRIBED IN THIS SUBSECTION, ALL OF THE FOLLOWING APPLY:
(A) THE ISSUE OF WHETHER AN ACT OR OMISSION WAS AN EXERCISE OF PROFESSIONAL JUDGMENT IS A QUESTION OF LAW FOR THE COURT.
(B) IF THE COURT DETERMINES UNDER SUBDIVISION (A) THAT THE PERSON DESCRIBED IN SECTION 5838A(1) DID NOT MEET THE BURDEN OF PROVING THAT THE ACT OR OMISSION WAS AN EXERCISE OF PROFESSIONAL JUDGMENT, THE QUESTION OF WHETHER THE PERSON FAILED TO PROVIDE THE RECOGNIZED STANDARD OF ACCEPTABLE PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE OR CARE IS A QUESTION FOR THE TRIER OF FACT TO DECIDE. THE RULING OF THE COURT UNDER SUBDIVISION (A) IS INADMISSIBLE AS EVIDENCE AT TRIAL, AND THE COURT SHALL NOT PERMIT THE PARTIES’ COUNSEL TO ARGUE ANY PROVISION OF THIS SUBSECTION TO A JURY.
(Section 5838A(1) describes the relevant person or entity as “a licensed health care professional, licensed health facility or agency, or an employee or agent of a licensed health facility or agency who is engaging in or otherwise assisting in medical care and treatment…”)
While Michigan doctors and their medical malpractice liability insurance companies praise the proposed measure as somehow improving access to health care and in some way addressing a supposedly looming shortage of doctors in Michigan in the next ten years, the increased immunity provided to doctors who commit medical malpractice comes at the expense of the innocent victims of their medical malpractice.
Perhaps the Michigan Senate should not focus on giving special treatment and immunity to doctors who commit medical malpractice in Michigan but instead focus its attention and its efforts on reducing the incidence and causes of medical malpractice in Michigan that cost its citizens their livelihoods and in some instances, their lives.
People who suffer serious and permanent injuries and forever lose the full enjoyment of their lives due solely to the medical mistakes and medical errors of their health care providers who were in the sole position to avoid committing medical negligence by simply providing that level of medical care that their similarly situated medical colleagues would have provided under the circumstances should not be allowed to become victims twice: once as a result of the negligence of their health care providers and a second time by laws that allow their negligent health care providers to escape their responsibilities to their victims.
If you may be the victim of medical malpractice in Michigan or in another U.S. state, the advice from a local medical malpractice attorney may help you decide if you should file a claim for medical malpractice for your injuries and losses.
Click here to visit our website or telephone us toll free at 800-295-3959 to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your state who may be willing to investigate your possible medical malpractice claim for you and file a medical malpractice case on your behalf, if appropriate.
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