All over the United States people each and everyday try to “milk” our government for whatever its worth. One particular issue that is in the rising in Pennsylvania is medical malpractice insurance. Pennsylvania is in the process of devising a plan to limit the amount of money one can claim from a medical malpractice suit. In order to solve Pennsylvania’s problem, the state must examine liability issues, time limits that victims have to file cases, and economic and non-economic points of settlements.
When a person reviews the basic knowledge of medical malpractice, he or she notices that medical malpractice is simply actions of injury or wrongful death to a human being by a medical professional (McCullough, Campbell. . .1). In Pennsylvania, a person has up to two years to claim a medical malpractice suit (1). The oddness of this is that 24 months gives a victim an exorbitant amount of time to embellish his or her story of what actually happened. On top of embellishing, this also allows the victim a long period of time in which he or she is able to falsify medical records or plead a false case to an attorney in which the attorney believes as truth. This type of fraud happens everyday, and yes it happens here in Pennsylvania.
The fact is that the people who perform this type of fraud, take any amount of money they can get their hands on, but most often these so called “victims” try to gain millions, sometimes even billions of dollars from our state and our states medical professionals. Any amount of money that these people take from Pennsylvania is wrong. Unfortunately, the attorneys and law officials do not always catch every fraudulent person. This leads into the next medical malpractice issue, the amount of liability one can obtain from the state with his or her current insurance policy.
When looking at how much liability a person is able to obtain from a medical malpractice suit in Pennsylvania, you will truly be amazed at how much some people have been able to attain from their cases. The interesting fact about Pennsylvania is that we do not have a cap as to how much a victim is able to get for his or her injuries (Rovito 4). Therefore, someone is fully able to receive four or maybe even five billion dollars for something as simple as using the wrong type of stitches to close a wound. The point of this matter is astronomical, and unfortunately too many people this day and age are able to receive these large amounts of money for simple mistakes. Now granted when you look at someone who has been involved in a horrible accident, like for instance, they amputate the wrong leg, then of course the liability that they can claim should be substantially higher. The problem is, there is no law stated that there is a significant difference. This is why so many people in Pennsylvania and all over the United States are able to get such an enormous amount of money from our medical professionals for their mistakes. Along with liability, comes the economic and non-economic issues that go along with the medical malpractice insurance settlements.
When examining economic and non-economic issues, there are numerous facts of Pennsylvania law that one must study. First is that when a person is filing for their medical malpractice suit, they of course will evoke sympathy in order to make their case look more harsh, therefore, resulting in more money for them. This also is why they are being exploited to fight the national understanding that our judicial system needs major help (Rovito 4). Most of the time the poor people are the ones who have been taught the best tactics in order to receive the most money. Moving onto economic damages, one must first understand what exactly these are. Economic damages are items such as lost wages, pensions, 401K plans, medical and hospital bills, cooking and cleaning services, assisted living devices, and the list goes on and on forever. Experts have shown that there is no way to put a figure on these losses or bear witness as to what is reasonable return (5).
Most of the time people in Pennsylvania are able to receive a smaller amount for what they consider economic loss, but when it comes to the non economic losses, they seem to go haywire. The fact is that each and every person makes a different amount of money while they are injured, and there is no way to cap how much money you can compensate the economic losses for someone who has been injured. This law makes absolute sense, and there is reasoning behind why Pennsylvania has kept their policy for economic issues on medical malpractice. Each and every person is different and there is no specific law to state how to differentiate each persons economic status. However, when you examine Pennsylvania’s non- economic malpractice issues, the mind often wonders how this state is able to make our doctors pay such exorbitant amounts of money.
The non-economic issues of medical malpractice insurance suits are items such as pain and suffering, loss of mobility, and loss of sanity. Again, the list goes on, but it is pretty plain to see that there is absolutely no way to put a dollar amount on how much a medical professional should pay its patient for these losses, which results in the large amounts of money. This is where the victim is able to receive the largest amounts of money known to everyone across the nation and the state of Pennsylvania. As Donna Baver Rovito stated, “Huge settlements for non-economic damages are bleeding the health care system of good doctors, limiting services, and enriching a small segment of society at the cost of quality health care for the rest of us.” The truth is that it is the people who milk the system that end up raising our insurance rates and in turn end up raising the prices that our doctors and other medical professionals charge. Since there is also no cap on how much the state of Pennsylvania is able to give for non-economic damages, the dollar amounts almost always seem to be in the hundreds of thousands if not millions.
The truth is that people in Pennsylvania and all across this nation, seem to want to be compensated for their loss. Granted every persons case is different, but if we do not act upon this issue at hand, our state will continue to lose money and many medical professionals will leave Pennsylvania to practice somewhere else. Pennsylvania is known for its amazing hospitals and medical professionals. If we continue to allow the medical malpractice suit settlements to be as outrageous as they are now, these amazing professionals will have no other choice but to flee Pennsylvania in order to find a different place to practice medicine. Pennsylvania is an amazing state, and is known for having amazing medical staff, however, it wont be such an amazing place if the reputation for people being able to obtain large amounts of money for simple injuries and mistakes continues.
This problem is simple to fix. Pennsylvania needs to cap the amounts of money that people obtain from their medical malpractice suits on non-economic damages. In the end this will help the medical professionals, the lawyers, and the people of this state. Pennsylvania is a great state to reside in and being able to say that it is known for its medical professionals is something that everyone from Pennsylvania prides in saying. However, with these enormous insurance suits, our medical professionals are on the rise of leaving Pennsylvania. All that can be said is that the residents of Pennsylvania need to voice their opinions to the government and be able to fix this problem that goes on all across the nation as well as here in Pennsylvania.
McCullough, Campbell, & Lane. “Summary of Medical Malpractice Law.” http:// www.mcandl.com/pennsylvania.html. 6 February 1998.
Rovito, Donna. No Title. http:// www.medrants.com/archives/001109.html.