Kia Franklin

Nevada might change its bet on tort “reform”?

Remember the Nevada Hepatitis outbreak caused by a hospital's dirty practice of reusing syringes? Well, it is causing folks to rethink the utility, and equity, of med mal caps. Mahabarbara reports here:

A hepatitis C outbreak is causing Nevada to re-think tort “reform.” Specifically, the Nevada legislature may revoke a cap on non-economic damages passed in 2004 as part of the “Keep Our Doctors in Nevada (KODIN) Act.”

When six patients of the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada were diagnosed with hepatitis C — a dangerous disease spread by blood-to-blood contact — investigators found that the clinic had been reusing syringes and single-dose vials of medicine for multiple patients. This was a serious breach of standard hygienic practice.

Hepatitis C can lead to chronic, lifelong liver disease that severely impairs quality of life. However, KODIN had capped punitive damages to $350,000 in medical malpractice cases. Opponents of the KODIN cap say the cap prevented victims from being adequately compensated for what clear medical malpractice had done to them. The outbreak also reinforced arguments that capping medical malpractice awards erodes quality of medical care.

Importantly, Mahabarbara also shares in this article how this KODIN tort deform can be connected to a politician and a family fortune. In a nutshell, if you follow the money chain, on one end is KODIN and on the other end are several million dollars in profit from shares from the Hospital Corporation of America, which helped fund passage of the law. It's, at the very least, a quite interesting connection.

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Posted at 12:33 PM, May 01, 2009 in Debunking Tort "Reform" | Examples of State Tort "Reforms" | Health Care | Increasing Safety | Legislation | Medical Malpractice | The Political Economy of the Tort "Reform" movement | Tort "Reform" Myth-Busting | Understanding the Tort "Reform" Movement
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