On April 27, 2012, the Connecticut Senate passed by a margin of 32 to 3 a medical malpractice bill that would reform Connecticut’s medical malpractice reforms enacted in 2005. In particular, the proposed bill would revise the requirement that medical malpractice plaintiffs obtain a written report called a certificate of merit from a “similar” health care provider that sets forth how the medical malpractice defendant deviated from the standard of care, adding an alternate method to comply with the law by obtaining a written report from a “qualified” health care provider.
The stated purpose behind the 2005 reforms as well as this most recent reform attempt is to prevent frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits from being filed that result in increasing medical malpractice insurance costs. It is thought that by requiring a sufficient written report that sets forth the alleged medical negligence and the alleged breaches of the standard of care, frivolous medical malpractice claims will not be filed.
The reason for the proposed change is that the “similar” health care provider requirement resulted in harsh consequences in some cases such as the dismissal of a medical malpractice lawsuit filed against an emergency room physician because the certifying expert was a practicing trauma surgeon and even though he spent most of his professional time in the emergency room, he was not a “similar” health care provider as to the defendant.
A “qualified” expert is a health care provider who the court determines to be an appropriate certifying expert based on the court’s review of the contents of the written report that details the expert’s sufficient training, knowledge, and experience in the specific care, treatment or diagnosis at issue in the medical malpractice complaint within the five-year period before the incident giving rise in the complaint so as to be able to testify as an expert as to the standard of care as to each defendant to whom the expert has issued an opinion.
The original Senate bill would have completely replaced the “similar” health care provider requirement with the less restrictive “qualified” health care provider provision but the strong opposition from medical providers resulted in a compromise.
The amended Senate bill now goes to the Connecticut House for its consideration.
If you may be the victim of medical malpractice in Connecticut or in another state in the United States, you may wish to consult with a local medical malpractice attorney to investigate your possible medical malpractice case for you.
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