Archives: September 2018

September 2018 Newsletter

Texas hold ‘em: 15 years since reform In the 15 years since comprehensive medical liability reforms were enacted, Texas has held on to physicians – and held off those seeking to return to a time when patient access to care was at risk. Initially enacted in 2003, liability reforms have resulted in an influx of physicians, benefiting rural residents across the state. “Texas’ medical liability reforms have been nationally considered the gold standard for medical liability legislation,” said Governor Greg Abbott. “Tort reform has significantly reduced lawsuits and liability costs in our state and contributed greatly to the increasing number of doctors practicing in Texas.” Women’s health care services have also improved, with Texas Alliance for Patient Access (TAPA) Chairman, Dr. Howard Marcus, confirming that Texas has added more obstetricians than any state in the nation. “Because of the tort reform measures passed by the Texas Legislature in 2003, the number of Texas primary care, high-risk, and total physicians have expanded at a rate greater than population growth,” Dr. Marcus said. To read more about the work of TAPA and the 15-year liability reform milestone, click here. A physician’s perspective on jackpot justice A spine surgeon and editor-in-chief of AAOS…

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Appeal filed to count Issue 1 votes on Arkansas ballot

SOURCE: Times Record – A notice of appeal was filed Friday with the Arkansas Supreme Court by Arkansans for Jobs and Justice to have Issue 1 votes counted in the November ballot. Pulaski County Circuit Judge Mackie M. Pierce issued an order Thursday that called Issue 1 “unconstitutional,” arguing it doesn’t meet the single-subject test and it is “unclear” if all parts of the Arkansas Legislature-referred constitutional amendment are reasonably germane to each other. Pierce uses the opinion drawn out by the state Supreme Court in 2011 with Forrester v. Martin to argue Issue 1 does not meet the single-subject requirement on constitutional amendments. The order directs Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin to refrain from counting, canvassing, or certifying any votes for or against Issue 1 in the Nov. 6 general election. Issue 1, the judge decided, has four sections that deal with both caps on lawsuits and “taking of power from the judiciary” to control the Legislature’s rules. “What is the general subject of Issue No. 1?” Pierce writes. “Is it the taking, or reallocation of power from the judiciary and vesting it in the Legislature? Is it the courts and the judiciary? Is is about the…

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A Record Payout from a Broken Malpractice System

SOURCE: AAOS Now – In early July, we learned of the largest single payout to a patient for medical malpractice. The case involved spine surgery, so my friends—both those in health care and not—asked me to comment. I dutifully read the news, which focused on the mammoth $135 million verdict but offered only the barest sketch of the facts of the case. When the defendant’s side is presented at all, it is the plaintiff’s attorney’s derisive account. At least as of this issue going to press, the defendants have chosen not to comment. The size of the verdict and attention around the case led me to look more closely at the current state of malpractice, but from the one perspective rarely covered in the lay media: the physician’s perspective. In this first half, we will look at the mechanics of malpractice torts. In the second, we will look at the impact of such suits on physicians and the possibility of reform. In short, eight years ago, a then-10-year-old girl underwent scoliosis surgery. Postoperatively, she experienced pain and neurological dysfunction. The plaintiff contends that the surgeon ignored the complaints and went on vacation (twice). Ten days later, another surgeon took…

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