Here are the facts insurance lobbyists don’t want you to know and aren’t telling your elected representatives.  Help set the record straight on Senate Bill 33.  Learn the facts, then take action.

  • The New England Journal of Medicine indicates that 4,000 patients die and 5,700 patients are permanently injured in North Carolina hospitals every year because of preventable medical mistakes.
  • The number of medical malpractice lawsuits filed in North Carolina has sharply decreased over the past decade.  Only 1 in 20 patients who are severely harmed by a preventable medical mistake files suit.
  • While the number of malpractice lawsuits has been dropping, the number of doctors in North Carolina continues to increase. Between 1998 and 2008, the total population in North Carolina grew by 18%, while the physician population increased by 29%.
  • Medical malpractice premiums for North Carolina doctors have decreased, while the malpractice insurance companies have made record profits.

Here’s why Senate Bill 33 is an assault on your rights and a danger to all of us:

  • In medical malpractice cases, the bill sets an arbitrary cap of $250,000 on damages for disfigurement, mutilation, loss of limb, paralysis, pain, suffering and death. The arbitrary cap would be especially devastating for injured children, homemakers, and the elderly, who have limited economic damages. In most of these cases the person injured by malpractice would be unable to pursue a claim, and those who negligently caused the injury would escape all responsibility.
  • An arbitrary cap on damages violates the right to a jury trial, guaranteed by the North Carolina Constitution. The bill provides that in any case where a jury awards an injured patient more than $250,000 in “noneconomic damages,” the judge will overrule the jury, void its judgment of what is fair, and reduce the verdict to the amount decided by politicians in Raleigh. That’s unfair. And unconstitutional.
  • The bill gives hospitals and ER doctors complete immunity when they commit malpractice.  Under this bill, hospitals can provide negligent care, which other doctors in North Carolina agree is malpractice, but still have complete immunity.  They take no responsibility at all for their actions.

We need to focus on patient safety, not limiting the rights of injured patients.