Nursing home abuse

New Bill Limits Patients’ Rights in Medical Malpractice Cases

May 8, 2017 by Carrie Capouellez
Medical Malpractice Cases

Doctors have a huge responsibility to patients, and when they make mistakes that harm their patients, patients have a right to hold them responsible. Unfortunately for patients, a new bill could compromise their ability to get justice after a medical mistake is made. After receiving a passing vote in the U.S. House of Representatives, a new healthcare bill was approved in the U.S. Senate that would dramatically reduce the amount a patient could receive from some types of medical malpractice lawsuits.

For patients who received healthcare under Medicare, Medicaid, or private health insurance subsidized by the Affordable Care Act, the new bill would place a limit on the amount of damages patients could receive in medical malpractice lawsuits against hospitals and doctors. Supporters of the bill believe “frivolous” medical malpractice lawsuits drive up the cost of malpractice insurance for doctors, which in turn drives up the overall cost of the healthcare.

Reduced payouts for medical errors would include egregious mistakes like surgeons leaving foreign objects in the body or operating on the wrong body part. In addition to limiting the damages a patient could receive after a medical mistake, the new bill would also decrease the use of diagnostic tests doctors utilize to reduce their exposure to lawsuits.

The new healthcare bill would also have profound implications for residents of nursing homes who experience elder abuse. Nursing home facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid payments would be protected from lawsuits as well. Victims of nursing home abuse would only be able receive a maximum of $250,000 in noneconomic damages.

With nursing home abuse a rampant problem, instituting damage caps in such lawsuits would not only take away residents’ rights, but also lessens the financial punishment for these horrendous events for nursing homes, thus insulating facilities from liability.

Patients Have Rights

All patients and nursing home residents have rights. If you or someone you love suffered from a medical mistake or from nursing home abuse, the experienced Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers at Lopez McHugh LLP can help you understand your rights and pursue justice on your behalf. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.

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